Fashion Revolution: Minimizing Waste in the Fashion Industry

Mar 17, 2019

Excess fabric going to waste during clothing production is probably not something you think of when shopping. I certainly never did until working in the fashion industry. Being that it's #FashionRevolution week, it seemed like a good time to share this process.

Yellow dumpster with graffiti on the side. Overflowing with fabric and paper patterns

How Is Fashion Fabric Waste Created?

When clothing is mass produced, stacks of fabric are laid out on long tables and the patterns are placed, on average, 19 inches from the edge of the fabric. This is so they don't accidentally cut off the edge on one of the pattern pieces. After the pattern is cut, the excess 19 inches by multiple yards gets cut into sections, bundled up, and tossed away because it's deemed unusable.

It doesn’t seem like that much until you see these big bundles piled up... And that may have just been for ONE garment... Multiply that by a whole collection of pieces, then by multiple companies... This excess adds up very quickly day after day.

If you saw the bundles of the excess fabric, you would never think it was just trash. Take a look at the picture below to see how big these bundles get.

Alyssa Holding bundles of fabric from L.A. clothing manufacturer

🙀🙈 YIKES!! That’s A LOT Of Waste!!

Here's where I come in to help minimize this waste and fill the gap the best I can. I buy these bundles from the manufacturer and upcycle them into unique fashion accessories. Since I don’t get to choose the fabric colors or patterns I receive and they come in odd sizes, I have to get those creative vibes flowing to find the best use for each type of material. To me, these aren't scraps or useless trash, they’re an opportunity to handmake limited-edition designs that can be used and loved for many years to come.

Our roll in this is still small, but with your help, we can keep these textiles out of landfills and change the way waste is managed in the fashion industry.

If you're interested in reading more about how we came to be such a consumer culture and its effects on other cultures and countries here is a good overview article by Luz Claudio.

Support sustainability by shopping brands with a thoughtful and cleaner business practice.

Alyssa standing by the trunk of her car which is packed full of bundles of fabric from L.A. clothing manufacturer

Has This Sparked Some Slow Fashion Thoughts And Conversation? Comment Below.