This week’s better brand, is Wearable Collections!, and they are pretty interesting.
When you take a look at their name, it immediately invokes the image of a clothing collection! Here, you are only half correct.
Wearable Collections, IS a clothing collection, but far from the traditional sense of the word.
Read on for more!
Wearable Collections is a NYC based clothing recycling company.
Their focus is on convenient hubs of collections, placing bins,
- Inside of buildings
- At 31 weekly greenmarkets
- Hosting drives with hundreds of schools, universities and corporations.
Basically, they have added a modern touch to the very old industry of rag picking utilising tools to connect dots in unique ways to maximise yields in an efficient manner.
Wearable Collections is driven to provide convenient apparel collection points, as they see convenience as the main factor in whether apparel end up in the waste stream and are dedicated to creating collection points that fit each community’s needs.
All the while creating local jobs and educating the public with their creative campaigns.
The clothing collected is brought to a facility where it is sorted into different grades.
- re-usable as second hand clothing,
- wiping rags.
- scrap that will be shredded for low grade fiber products.
The second hand clothing will be shipped to emerging markets throughout the world, where it provides access to affordable and stylish fashion.
What is essential, is that if this clothing was not collected and reused, most would end up as landfill.
According to Wearable Collections, it is important for people to understand that there is someone, somewhere in the world who will reuse the items they bring in for collections.
Although they call themselves a recycling company, their focus is on reusing.
“Reusing as second hand is what drives the whole clothing and shoe recycling industry.
Reusing is the best option as it doesn’t require any energy other than connecting the dots via transportation.
The secondhand clothing industry is very sophisticated supplying necessary, stylish clothing to people all around the world at affordable prices.
We will try best to make use of whatever we collect but we need to continue to focus on what there is a demand for worldwide.”
“Wearable Collections mission has been to raise awareness of the damage the fashion industry has on our environment through the action of diverting clothing from landfills.
We see waste management as very formulaic and believe due to people’s nostalgic attachment and inherent understanding of the value of clothing it can have a tremendous impact on the diversion of other materials.
To keep the value of materials that have gone through the rigors of production is our goal.”
As we know, reusing discarded clothing is probably the most sustainable option at the moment.
Recycling old into yarn to make new apparel can be very problematic.
Not only are the energy requirements much higher than reusing, but there are other inherent issues.
The most pressing being,
- Many apparel items cannot be recycled. For example, items containing lycra.
- The technology does not exist yet, that can deal with the amount of apparel destined for recycling, so it essentially just piles up, and often ends up being dumped or destroyed.
- Recycling essentially means that the apparel is recycled into yarn. This yarn is then used to make new items of clothing. It still requires energy intensive processes, as well as processes that can be environmentally unfriendly. Basically, this yarn needs to be converted into fabric. The fabric is then processed and dyed. Then it is transported to a factory where it is cut and sewn into garments. This is energy intensive, and the processing can be extremely polluting.
According to Adam Baruchowitz, the founder of Wearable Collections, they are obsessed with becoming an important link in the circular economy.
In the past, continues Adam, it is the reuse of second hand clothes that is the driver of value from our collections.
However, we believe that in the future the other half of our loads that is deemed either rags or shredded for low grade fiber product will eventually be considered high grade raw material with the ability to be used as feedstock for new garments.
Their focus is on creating a sustainable company not only environmentally, but also economically.
Over the last ten years, Wearable Collection, has diverted over 15 million lbs. of clothing, shoes and home linens from landfills.
For the sake of transparency, Wearable Collections is a for-profit organization.
It’s a business.
They are still very involved with non-profit organizations and dedicate a portion of their proceeds to charitable partners.
Wearable Collections has worked with organizations such as The Miami Project To Cure Paralysis, GrowNYC, Habitat For Humanity, Bottomless Closet, Career Gear, Room To Grow, Columbia Community Service, Broadway Green Alliance, Project Open, and dozens of others.
They have also made it possible for buildings to choose a nonprofit to receive their proceeds and have worked with hundreds of schools and universities to help them raise funds through the collection of clothes and shoes.
At Sourcing Playground, we know that more sustainable apparel transcends the physical manufacturing of apparel.
There are other ways of achieving a
higher level of sustainability. Reusing is one of these ways.
Check out Wearable Collections here.