Designers Doing Something

I found this information in a Quartz article:

Eileen Fisher has a “Waste No More” collection. Fabric is sourced through her buy back program and production is facilitated through the brand’s upcycling initiative called “DesignWork.” Beautiful tapestries (image below) are constructed using an innovative weaving technique called “needle punching” which requires no sewing, gluing or dyes to utilize the new fabrics. 

What an ambitious endeavor! Eileen Fisher ROCKS! 

It’s A Treasure Hunt

We’ve all heard the phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Over the past year, I’ve found myself using it time and time again to describe my experience as a reseller. Nothing sums it up better.

I resell used clothes from friends, family, and clients that have contacted me online for my services. Sometimes I buy items from Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc. at their end of season clearance sales to flip for a profit online. My favorite method of resell is sourcing from local thrift stores. It can be overwhelming and time consuming, but I am systematic about it. I designate a couple of hours in the morning to sourcing, and treat it as part of the work day. As I enter each store, I take a deep breath and tell myself, “it’s a treasure hunt.”

I’d say I’ve mastered the ability to zone out while sourcing and find it somewhat therapeutic. Although, for me, zoning out isn’t completely brainless (or so I’d like to think). Instead, it drowns out the chatter for a bit of pondering. One recurring thought I’ve had lately is the concept of consumerism. I find new with tags items. I find clothing that can be found currently at retail stores.

Did you know that Goodwill is not allowed to sell you items that are “damaged”? Well, thats what I was told recently by one of their managers.  I thought people gave away clothes that they no longer wore because they were stained, torn, no longer fit, or were deemed ugly items? So if I can’t purchase them at Goodwill where do those clothes go? To be clear about what I mean by damaged, let me give you an example. I found a Lilly Pulitzer Silk Tunic Blouse (one of my bestsellers) with a fabric tear in the seam. Otherwise, it was flawless. It even had the tag from a dry cleaners left in it. When I was checking out and the employee saw it, she said, “Oh, I can’t sell that to you.” I put up a little fight and asked for the manager because it seemed unlikely. Sure enough, the manager confirmed that she could not sell it to me.

FYI, each Goodwill has its own CEO with its own set of policies. This could have been an isolated incident. Kinda curious if it was or not.

So, back to my question about the damaged clothes. What happened to that Lilly Pulitzer blouse? My imagination brings to mind a world for mutant clothes like the mutant toys in Toy Story. SMH.

New Goodwill locations are popping up everywhere in my city. The racks are so full it’s difficult to see what is on them without physically spreading the hangers apart. Every few minutes an announcement is made that more clothes are being brought out. I can visit the same one twice in one week and not recognize any of the items.

I’ve worked retail in the past, but never once did it cause me to notice the abundance of clothing surrounding me. Why? Probably by design. There was just enough inventory to keep the shelves stocked. Selling out of an item just made it that much more desirable.

Back to my pondering. Could we start a movement that makes shopping more about style than fashion? I guarantee the looks on the runway this fall have been created before. Your style is uniquely you. Once you succumb to the fashion industry’s marketing and advertising, you are simply a consumer of fashion.

Our need to consume more and more runs deep into the fabric (ha! see what I did there) of our society dating back to the industrial revolution. It’s a sickness. It needs to be treated. In my perfect world, I’d add it to the list of things like exercise, healthy eating, etc. that require discipline but are necessary for a long, happy life. Emotional spending may not be as outwardly visible as, say, emotional eating, but I’d argue that’s just because we are all sick. It’s a countrywide epidemic. Not to sound fatalistic, but it needs to be taken seriously. Instead of judging others for what they don’t have, we should judge others for having too much. I’m kidding! We should not judge at all. But my point is not to shame people for spending money on things but to form a societal construct around the notion that less really is more.

I love a good cause. I get fired up about things I believe in. I know there is growing awareness of the impact we have on our environment from the things we buy. I know people are becoming more environmentally conscious and eco friendly. I also know that you can’t convince people to stop consuming altogether.

So, I need your collective effort. Join the new marketplace GENUWIN to buy and sell clothes for a cause. Its pretty basic right now, but I want it that way. I want your help growing this thing. That’s why its free to list, and you get 100% of the profit from what you sell. Hopefully, in turn, this will make it possible to purchase items at the lowest prices online.