New York City is a global fashion hotspot. But style comes with a cost. Each year, the Big Apple is responsible for 200,000 tons of clothing and textile waste. New York City fashion makers and consumers, however, are stepping up to combat the industry’s wastefulness. They’re fighting back with ReFashion, a sector of fashion that repurposes old clothing and textiles to create new garments.
Typically, we buy clothing, use it for a period of time and then throw it away. Refashion, recycling and upcycling are all words used to describe a new approach to this linear process of buying and throwing away clothes. By reusing clothing and textiles, designers on the large and smallscale, can repair damages or repurpose and sell something as completely new. In fact, the resale market is growing 21 times faster than any retail market over the past three years, according to GlobalData.
New York City Lens gives a glimpse into the city’s growing demand for fashion without an environmental footprint at NYC’s second annual Refashion Week, sponsored by the New York Department of Sanitation. The weeklong event, held in February, featured panels, pop up shops, and fashion competitions that highlighted ways shoppers can buy and live more sustainably. We sat down with a refashion designer and shop owner, Halima Garrett. By recycling and reworking discarded garments, fashion makers like Halima to Eileen Fisher are paving the way to a more sustainable style.