Our current student, Shana McCracken, took several students’ Mystery Fabric Contest garment entries to the California Resource Recovery Association’s (CRRA) 10th Annual conference in Sacramento this August. The event hosted 38 exhibitors and approximately 600 attendees! CRRA works to reduce and eliminate waste. The attendees included local government representatives, employees of waste and recycling haulers, environmental consultants, and policymakers, among others.
Shana is impassioned about reuse and in 2015 she started the Prevention, Reuse & Repair Technical Council (PRR). Currently, PRR’s main focus is to promote reuse activities and policy in California. She noted that textiles were discussed a lot more at the conference this year, probably because they are the second biggest segment of waste still going to landfills in California. Organics, including yard trimmings and food scraps are number one. Currently, a lot of textiles are shredded and used as stuffing, industrial rags, or carpet padding. Shana hopes that people consider reuse of clothing and other textiles before recycling.
Shana’s goals aligned so well with Cañada’s contest that she was eager to share a variety of the entries in CRRA’s exhibit hall. CRRA graciously gave her the exhibit space for free and even a special advertisement in the program. Shana renamed the collection the “Craft of Reuse,” which was displayed alongside industrial equipment. Her hope was that the contrast would bring that much more attention to the garments and their artistry. She was thrilled with how her exhibit was received. “Many attendees commented on how unexpected the garments were and how it helped them consider other avenues of reuse,” Shana noted. “They were more aware of the value of the work the students had done in terms of time invested in sewing and pattern making and the creative reuse of smaller fabric scrap pieces.”
If you are interested in minimizing fabric waste, consider the following:
- Buy fabrics and patterns at thrift stores and estate sales.
- Find patterns and fabric on Ebay and Etsy.
- Consider donating items to, or using fabric and pattern donations from the Fashion Department.
- Use your sewing skills and creativity to alter and embellish old or thrifted pieces.
- Hold a fabric swap!