Renewing Fashion with Sustainable Thrifting
This month in the sustainable fashion world, a second-hand clothing brand and lifestyle is taking the word ‘consumption’ to a whole new level. Founded by Parsons School of Design alumna Kat Collier and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts senior Rachel Stewart, Renewear uses plantable clothing tags to educate consumers on the resource intensive process that goes into manufacturing clothes. Renewear uses secondhand clothes and biodegradable tags to tell a story about the production process behind garments. Dedicated to protecting women, preserving water, and preventing waste, Renewear aims to educate the public on sustainable living through community events.This may prompt some people to think, what’s the big deal about thrift stores and sustainability? The answer to that is very clear. The average t-shirt uses 700 gallons of water for production. There are two billion new t-shirts sold worldwide every year. That means there are 1.4 trillion gallons of water used each year just for producing the shirts most people wear. There are 520 million pairs of jeans sold in the United States. The average pair of jeans uses 1,500 gallons of water during production. That’s 780 billion gallons of water per year just on jeans sold in the US. In El Paso, Texas, the Levi’s plant uses 15% of the city’s water supply. One pair of jeans requires 400 mega joules of energy, and expels 71 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s equivalent of driving 78 miles. So, based on this data, the argument for recycled clothing is very important.This is the issue that drove Kat and Rachel to open up Renewear. For the launch of their brand, they will be hosting a Drop Shop community event that is free and open to the public on Saturday, December 9th, and Sunday, December 10th from 12-8 PM at 972 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Renewear has partnered up with nonprofit organizations to donate a percentage of the proceeds made at this event to Fabscrap and Project Continua. To learn more about Renewear, volunteer, or register to be a vendor for their Drop Shop, visit their site www.renewear.org.Kat studied Integrated Design and Sustainable Cities during her tenure at Parsons, while Rachel is currently enrolled in Lang for Music, and Culture & Media studies. Between the two of them, they have found an important intersection in bolstering sustainable initiatives through fashion. Kat brings to the table a focus on the life cycles of products and ways to reduce material use in every part of the design process. Rachel’s studies provide a focus on ways in which social groups and communities are affected by mass production and unsustainable business practices.In their own words, these young ladies describe themselves as such:“As female millennials we wanted to come up with a business model that is sustainable and instills community. Both of our work aims to bring communities together in an educational, environmentally friendly to preserve the planet. We are both defenders of the earth and hope to share that passion for the environment with customers and collaborators alike.We believe that making the world a better place starts with people. Fostering community through our projects is a part of the lifelong goal in getting different types of people to come together and learn how to understand each other. We have a deep appreciation for nature and all that she provides for us. In our free time you can often find us brainstorming new and fun ways to connect people, dancing in our Brooklyn apartment or singing in the streets on the way to the train."