Sustainability is fast becoming the name of the game in the fashion industry. Big fashion brands, regulators, retailers, and even consumers are recognizing the negative impact of the fashion industry and manufacturing on the environment and are working together towards minimizing it.
A buzz-concept that is currently going around in the fashion industry is the use of deadstock fabrics. “There is nothing more sustainable [than the use of deadstock],” Reformation’s Vice President of Sustainability Kathleen Talbott said in an interview. “We’re giving a second life to a fabric that was destined for the landfill.
But what exactly is deadstock?
Deadstock refers to unused fabrics or textiles that are simply collecting dust in a warehouse or a stockroom before they are thrown away. According to The Brass Basics, deadstock is generated by over-buying, over-forecast or over-anticipation. Fashionista.com says that some of these fabrics remain unused because they turned out to be a different color from what was anticipated or simply did not turn out right for what they were supposed to be used for.
Instead of going to the landfill, small boutiques are giving life to deadstock by repurposing it for different styles or cuts. This poses a positive impact in terms of textile waste. Every year, The Balance reports that 15 million tons of textile wastes are dumped in the United States alone. An average American household’s clothing requirement is equivalent to filling in 1,000 bathtubs with water and carbon emissions from a car that has been driving for 6,000 miles. The use of thousands of yards of deadstock in warehouses and factories has the potential to make a dent in the amount of waste that goes into landfills and in the energy required to make new fabrics.
In a nutshell, there are three important benefits to using deadstock:
1. It’s eco-friendly.
As discussed, using deadstock is good for the environment. It reduces textile waste, it conserves energy and decreases the carbon footprint that would have been expended in the production of new textiles.
2. It promotes creativity.
The use of deadstock encourages creativity on the part of the designer to create beautiful outfits from existing fabrics. It also allows the creation of exclusive pieces since deadstock fabrics are usually limited.
3. It’s inexpensive.
Since deadstock are usually overruns or surpluses, they come cheap as compared to new fabrics or textiles. This poses a good argument for the use of deadstock.
It is for these reasons that some companies have turned to using deadstock for their brands. Some innovative brands embracing this eco fashion concept are:
This Berlin-based underwear and lingerie brand sources leftover or unused fabrics from businesses that are closing down, or businesses that have miscalculated its production needs, made stock ordering mistakes, or have surplus materials. For this reason, Anekdot is only able to handcraft limited edition delicates which makes the products that much more special.
Patagonia has been using deadstock fabric for years, according to The Brass Basics. In fact, this company is said to have paved the way for the rise of new sustainable companies in the fashion industry. Patagonia is serious about promoting sustainability that it is very transparent on providing information about its environmental impact and supply chain on its website.
Based in Los Angeles, California is Reformation, a popularly known sustainable fashion company. According to their website, their fabrics are made from eco-friendly materials, rescued deadstock fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing. In fact, Reformation claims that 15 percent of their materials come from deadstock and vintage clothing.
Looptworks, based in Portland, Oregon, is a B-Corp accredited social enterprise that specializes in intercepting excess materials headed to the landfills and transforming them into new, eco-friendly, limited edition products. They produce products such as cases and sleeves for laptops and tablets but have since branched out to backpacks and apparel.
TRMTAB is a company that produces leather accessories and goods for technological devices such as phone and iPad covers. Their materials come from leather scraps generated from a factory’s production cycles, deadstock or lower selection animal hides which are set aside due to natural defects. Their goal is to transform these materials which would have otherwise been sent to landfills into “limited edition, refined collections.” Visit trmtab.com to learn more.
This Cambodia-based fashion brand is zero waste, making tonlé one of the most forward-thinking, innovative fashion labels around. The brand begins the production process by sourcing scrap and unused materials and other fabric waste from mass clothing manufacturers. And they don’t stop there. Any unused fabrics are then cut into strips and individually hand sewn into yarn to be turned into a unique tonlé garment. The brand also uses closed-loop production bringing its waste down to zero.
Sword & Plough
Sword & Plough repurposes surplus military fabrics into fashionable and durable bags and purses. According to their website, they work with veterans in every step of their manufacturing process, generating veteran employment and giving back 10 percent of their net profits to support veteran initiatives. So technically, they don’t just help save the environment by using deadstock military fabrics, they also help veterans gain employment.
What other brands do you know that work with deadstock fabrics? Do you agree with this trend in eco-fashion or have some concerns? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.