By Anita Irlen
From the sustainable creations hanging on the walls by local “reuse” designers and artists (currently featuring the designs of Zero Waste Daniel) to the neat piles and bolts of scrap textiles, trimmings and even leather and suede for sale, the new FabScrap store is like candy to designers, makers, and anyone interested in recycling and sustainability. The focus of this entire enterprise is to engage people in reuse, primarily by offering scrap textiles for sale that would have otherwise ended up as garbage.
The FabScrap store is new, but the non-profit organization (also called FabScrap) behind it has been “rethinking textile waste” since 2016, when Executive Director Jessica Schreiber picked up her first scraps from her first client, one of the many makers in New York who didn’t know what to do with their used and leftover fabric swatches, bolts of extra material, and leftover scraps from the design and sampling process. The organization aims to tackle the crisis of textile waste and to reduce the 25 billion pounds of apparel and textiles that end up in US landfills each year.
The concept of the organization is simple, but not easy to make happen: FabScrap picks up textile waste from fashion brands and other related industries, sorts it in their Brooklyn Army Terminal warehouse, and then either sells it to creatives and makers or sends it away to be shredded and made into things like insulation and carpeting.
In the past few years, FabScrap has expanded at what might be called an alarming rate, but that growth is ultimately good for sustainability: In 2018, the organization took in 234,175 pounds of textile waste, coming from a client base of 255 brands and counting. The sorting, done by volunteers, takes place at Brooklyn’s Army Terminal in Sunset Park. Until the opening of the brick-and-mortar location, sales took place at the warehouse or via their online store, but how do you get more fabric, trimmings, and even leather and suede to the people? A centrally located store.
The FabScrap Team
Founder Jessica Schreiber comes from a career in the New York City Department of Sanitation, in the bureau of recycling and sustainability, where she launched successful reuse and recycling programs. Camille Tagle a designer of eveningwear and the founder of Design Up Studio, joined Schreiber at Fab Scrap in 2017 as the Director of Reuse partnerships. With experience in the non-profit sector, Community Coordinator, Anne Keating, comes from the Rhode Island School of Design where she studied textile and material design. Operations coordinator, Sabina Montinar, a process improvement wonk, has experience in both sales and operations in the fashion retail industry. Together, these women make up the heart of Fab Scrap and are making it easier for brands and makers to reuse textiles.
The Fab Scrap store is at 110 W. 26 Street, in Chelsea. The hours are Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
To volunteer, shop for textiles online, or for more information, go to the FabScrap website.