Last night I attended the annual Rubbish to Runway event in Salisbury, Massachusetts and I’m so glad I did. It was a lovely, family-friendly, community event, with little girls, dads, and seniors strutting the runway. The event is a fundraiser for a remarkable organization called Long Way Home.
Long Way Home is dedicated to bringing a more prosperous and sustainable future to the community of San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala where our students can walk a path of civic connection and economic success. We educate in a freethinking, democratically ordered educational system that attends to the whole child. Graduates become self-directed and self-sustaining community members.
It was a challenge to take good photos of the models (for me anyway) on the runway because the room was so dark but I did manage to sneak backstage and get some close-up shots.
I absolutely adored this fabulous young woman and her upcycled gown. She was totally game to make the best of the situation for our impromptu fashion shoot. We walked down the backstage hallway until we came upon this orange ladder. A perfect accent to her gown. Magnifique!
This is what I’m curious about lately — shredding and rebonding textiles. It started when I was cleaning my living room rug. I noticed the pad under the rug was made up of bits and pieces of salvaged foam. I’ve always liked the look of this material. It’s classic — like a quilted moving blanket or a cast iron pan.
One of the problems we face with the fashion industry is the amount of waste. What if we mined that waste and used it as a resource. We could grind up fashion that is no longer wanted and turn it into a new classic textile. Something that is so unique and performs so well that it could not be ignored.
Let’s back up and see how carpet padding is actually made? This type of padding is called rebonded polyurethane. This video shows how scraps of foam are ground into smaller bits. The bits are then bound together with chemicals and steam into something like a giant loaf of bread which can then be cut into usable slices.
Could we do something similar in a more organic way but with textile scraps instead of foam? Textile shredders already exist. What if each of our town dumps had a textile shredder that could grind up textile waste and resell it?
The shredded textile on its own could be useful as filling but let’s take it one step further. Could these textile scraps be rebound into a new iconic fabric? It seems like a solvable problem. In the end, we could end up with a gorgeous terrazzo-like fabric.
Instead of seeing bits of marble or glass we could see bits of jeans or flannel. The material could become a new classic like a herringbone or gingham.
To achieve this terrazzo look we’d need to make the fabric the way felt is made. If you think it sounds complicated just think about how silk is made.
What do you think? It’s crazy, right? I think it’s time. It’s time for a Fashion Revolution.