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Cotton clothing manufactured without the use of irritating chemical dyes can be safely composted. Cotton clothing manufactured without the use of irritating chemical dyes can be safely composted. Dr. Michael Braungart, one of the originators of the Cradle to Cradle design concept claims that the samples he has are the first post-industrial-era shirt that is completely safe for human skin. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently informed Braungart that a research institute based on his method is planned, and several leading companies have already began developing Cradle to Cradle clothing and furniture.


Elizabeth Brunner
Piece x Piece, LLC
2325 Third Street, Suite 220
San Francisco, CA 94107
T 415 685 5789

Piece x Piece is a personal response to the overwhelming amount of waste produced by the fashion industry. Every year, thousands of sample fabric swatches are discarded each season and up until now it has been difficult to imagine a useful purpose for them. This is our way of creating a thoughtful disruption to the traditional path one usually takes in the apparel industry from fabric mill to land fill.

The result of ongoing reclamation, experimentation, and design, each Piece x Piece garment is by nature, one-of-a-kind. The fabric used in each piece is selected from our ever-changing stock of luxury discards.

We offer our garments in limited production editions because for us sourcing and manufacturing is an extremely involved and consuming process. As a result of the time taken for each piece, all garments are season-less in nature and time-less in their design.

Our mission is to create beauty from this waste, and progress toward a new philosophy about what waste really means and how we address it. We hope you enjoy our work as much as we do.
Industry statistics on fabric waste are appalling. The average fashion house discards 4,500 swatch cards each year. Some 50 percent of fabric waste is not biodegradable. The textile industry is the fifth largest contributor to CO2 emissions in the U.S.


A VERY GOOD ARTICLE on Zero waste fashion that summarizes the major players:

Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes,”
by Alison Gwilt and Timo Rissanen,
published by Earthscan UK

'An authoritative new book ... [that] provides an eloquent description of the scale of the problem, both in terms of the environmental impact of the fashion industry and the myriad ways in which the current industry is stacked against sustainable practice.'
DAMn Magazine

Timo Rissanen is the Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and Sustainability at Parsons The New School for Design. He previously taught fashion design in Australia for seven years. Timos fashion design practice is informed by inquisitive patterncutting. From 2001 to 2004 he owned and designed for Usvsu, a menswear label in Sydney, selling in Australia, Italy and Russia. In 2003 Usvsu was the winner of the Mercedes-Benz Start-Up award at Mercedes-Benz Australian Fashion Week.
His PhD project is titled Fashion Creation Without Fabric Waste Creation and Rissanen presented a collection of menswear from the project in Bad Dogs, an exhibition in Sydney in 2008. Rissanen has presented at many international conferences and contributed a chapter to Sustainable Fashion. Why Now? (Fairchild Books, 2008). In 2009 he co-curated 'Fashioning Now' in Australia with Alison Gwilt; 'Shaping Sustainable Fashion', a book drawing from the project will be published by Earthscan in January 2011. Rissanens work on zero-waste fashion will be included in a book by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose in 2011. A survey exhibition of zero-waste fashion design curated by Rissanen and Holly McQuillan will open in NY and New Zealand in 2011.

Timo Rissanen is a Finnish design and first-ever assistant professor of fashion design and sustainability at Parsons the New School for Design — the school which inspired a generation of would-be designers through the television series “Project Runway”

He is teaching the new zero-waste course with Scott Mackinlay Hahn, a founder of the organic fashion label Loomstate

Parsons New School of Design in New York

Timo Rissanen is teaching the new zero-waste course at Parsons with
Scott Mackinlay Hahn, a founder of the organic fashion label Loomstate

Simon Collins, dean of the school of fashion at Parsons says:
“Jeans are one of the most wasteful and polluting garments that are
made,” citing not only the unused fabric, but also the dyes added only
to be washed out again, the energy used to transport the denim all over
the world, the packaging, and the gallons of water used by consumers to
clean the jeans. “And of course it’s one of the staples of everyone’s

How the Fashion distressed look on blue Jeans is achieved
Textile workers sand jeans all night at a clothing factory in Guangdong
Province, China. The blue dust from the jeans is a heavy irritant to the
lungs. The factory where this worker is employed uses a wear-and-tear
process to achieve the fashionable distressed look for the approximately
10,000 pairs of jeans it produces every day. Thousands of workers labor
around the clock scrubbing, spraying, and tearing jeans in order to meet
the production demand. China is one of the world’s largest producers of

“We’re offended by 15 percent waste in fabric,” Mr. Collins said. “We
believe in great design. But we don’t believe in wasting clothes.”

Simon Collins email:

The Fast Fashion Mindset (THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE!...I've only gleaned
some of the major points here)

Fast fashion provides the marketplace with affordable apparel aimed
mostly at young women. Fueling the demand are fashion magazines that
help create the desire for new “must-haves” for each season. “Girls
especially are insatiable when it comes to fashion. They have to have
the latest thing, always. And since it is cheap, you buy more of it. Our
closets are full,” says Mayra Diaz, mother of a 10-year-old girl and a
buyer in the fashion district of New York City. Disposable couture
appears in shopping mall after shopping mall in America and Europe at
prices that make the purchase tempting and the disposal painless.

Each step of the clothing production process carries the potential for
an environmental impact. For example, conventionally grown cotton, one
of the most popular clothing fibers, is also one of the most water- and
pesticide-dependent crops (a view disputed by Cotton Incorporated, a
U.S. cotton growers’ group). At the factory stage, effluent may contain
a number of toxics (above, waste products from a garment factory in
Dhaka, Bangladesh, spill into a stagnant pond).
Yet fast fashion leaves a pollution footprint, with each step of the
clothing life cycle generating potential environmental and occupational
hazards. For example, polyester, the most widely used manufactured
fiber, is made from PETROLEUM.

Each step of the clothing production process carries the potential for
an environmental impact. For example, conventionally grown cotton, one
of the most popular clothing fibers, is also one of the most water- and
pesticide-dependent crops (a view disputed by Cotton Incorporated, a
U.S. cotton growers’ group). At the factory stage, effluent may contain
a number of toxics (above, waste products from a garment factory in
Dhaka, Bangladesh, spill into a stagnant pond).

The manufacture of polyester and other synthetic fabrics is an
energy-intensive process requiring large amounts of crude oil and
releasing emissions including volatile organic compounds, particulate
matter, and acid gases such as hydrogen chloride, all of which can cause
or aggravate respiratory disease. Volatile monomers, solvents, and other
by-products of polyester production are emitted in the wastewater from
polyester manufacturing plants. The EPA, under the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act, considers many textile manufacturing facilities to be
hazardous waste generators.

Issues of environmental health and safety do not apply only to the
production of man-made fabrics. Cotton, one of the most popular and
versatile fibers used in clothing manufacture, also has a significant
environmental footprint. This crop accounts for a quarter of all the
pesticides used in the United States, the largest exporter of cotton in
the world, according to the USDA. The U.S. cotton crop benefits from
subsidies that keep prices low and production high. The high production
of cotton at subsidized low prices is one of the first spokes in the
wheel that drives the globalization of fashion.

Much of the cotton produced in the United States is exported to China
and other countries with low labor costs, where the material is milled,
woven into fabrics, cut, and assembled according to the fashion
industry’s specifications. China has emerged as the largest exporter of
fast fashion, accounting for 30% of world apparel exports, according to
the UN Commodity Trade Statistics database.


According to figures from the U.S. National Labor Committee, some
Chinese workers make as little as 12–18 cents per hour working in poor
conditions. And with the fierce global competition that demands ever
lower production costs, many emerging economies are aiming to get their
share of the world’s apparel markets, even if it means lower wages and
poor conditions for workers. Increasingly, clothing being imported to
the United States comes from countries as diverse as Honduras and


Once bought, an estimated 21% of annual clothing purchases stay in the
home, increasing the stocks of clothing and other textiles held by
consumers, according to Recycling of Low Grade Clothing Waste, a
September 2006 report by consultant Oakdene Hollins. The report calls
this stockpiling an increase in the “national wardrobe,” which is
considered to represent a potentially large quantity of latent waste
that will eventually enter the solid waste stream. According to the EPA
Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of
clothing and textiles per person per year, and clothing and other
textiles represent about 4% of the municipal solid waste. But this
figure is rapidly growing.


Mount Sinai School of Medicine
17 East 102 Street Floor 3rd Floor Room 3W
New York, NY 10029

Tel: 212-824-7054
Fax: 212-996-0407

Book: Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash
Susan Strasser, a professor of history at the University of Delaware,
traces the “progressive obsolescence” of clothing and other consumer
goods to the 1920s. Before then, and especially during World War I, most
clothing was repaired, mended, or tailored to fit other family members,
or recycled within the home as rags or quilts.

Susan Strasser
Richards Chaired Professor in History
Department of History
229 Munroe Hall

Book: The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy
Author Pietra Rivoli, a professor of international business at the
McDonough School of Business of Georgetown University, writes that each
year Americans purchase approximately 1 billion garments made in China,
the equivalent of four pieces of clothing for every U.S. citizen.

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy takes the reader on a
fascinating, around-the-world journey to reveal the economic and
political lessons from the life story of a simple t-shirt. Over five
years, business professor Pietra Rivoli traveled from a Texas cotton
field to a Chinese factory to a used clothing market in Africa, to
investigate compelling questions about the politics, economics, ethics,
and history of modern business and globalization. Using the story of the
t-shirt to illustrate the major issues of the globalization debate, this
uniquely entertaining business book offers a surprising, enlightening,
and balanced look at one of the major topics of our time.

Facts and Figures from The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy:
The role of Thrift Shops

A 2006 survey conducted by America’s Research Group, a consumer trends
research firm, found that about 12–15% of Americans shop at consignment
or resale stores. The Council for Textile Recycling estimates that 2.5
billion pounds of postconsumer textile waste (which includes anything
made of fabric) is thus collected and prevented from entering directly
into the waste stream. This represents 10 pounds for every person in the
United States, but it is still only about 15% of the clothing that is

Approximately 1/5 of the clothing donated to charities is directly used
or sold in their thrift shops. Says Rivoli, “There are nowhere near
enough people in America to absorb the mountains of castoffs, even if
they were given away.”

So charities find another way to fund their programs using the clothing
and other textiles that can’t be sold at their thrift shops: they sell
it to textile recyclers at 5–7 cents per pound. Since 1942, the Stubin
family of Brooklyn, New York, has owned and operated Trans-America
Trading Company, where they process more than 12 million pounds of
postconsumer textiles per year. Trans-America is one of the biggest of
about 3,000 textile recyclers in the United States. At its
80,000-square-foot sorting facility, workers separate used clothing into
300 different categories by type of item, size, and fiber content.
According to figures from Trans-America, about 30% of these textiles are
turned into absorbent wiping rags for industrial uses, and another
25–30% are recycled into fiber for use as stuffing for upholstery,
insulation, and the manufacture of paper products.

About 45% of these textiles continue their life as clothing, just not
domestically. Certain brands and rare collectible items are imported by
Japan, the largest buyer in terms of dollars of vintage or American
high-end fashion. Clothing that is not considered vintage or high-end is
baled for export to developing nations. Data from the International
Trade Commission indicate that between 1989 and 2003, American exports
of used clothing more than tripled, to nearly 7 billion pounds per year.
Used clothing is sold in more than 100 countries. For Tanzania, where
used clothing is sold at the mitumba markets that dot the country, these
items are the number one import from the United States.

Because women in the West tend to buy much more clothing and discard it
more often than men, the world supply of used women’s clothing is at
least seven times that of men’s. Thus, in the mitumba markets around
Tanzania, men’s clothing generally costs four to five times more than
similar women’s clothing.

Observers such as Rivoli predict that the trend toward increasing
exports of used clothing to developing countries will continue to
accelerate because of the rise of consumerism in the United States and
Europe and the falling prices of new clothing. There are detractors to
this view, however. For example, the Institute for Manufacturing at
Cambridge University issued a report in 2006 titled Well Dressed? The
Present and Future Sustainability of Clothing and Textiles in the United
Kingdom, in which it raised concerns that trade in secondhand clothes in
African countries inhibits development of local industries even as it
creates employment in these countries. And the authors of Recycling of
Low Grade Clothing Waste warn that in the long run, as prices and
quality of new clothing continue to decline, so too will the demand for
used clothing diminish. This is because in the world of fast fashion,
new clothing could be bought almost as inexpensively as used clothing.
Even so, says Rivoli, “Continued rampant consumerism as well as changing
waste disposal practices would seem to ensure a growing supply of
American used clothing for the global market.”

According to Well Dressed?,

about 60% of the energy used in the life cycle of a cotton T-shirt is
related to postpurchase washing and drying at high temperatures;
transportation constitutes only a small portion of the energy profile to
produce a cotton product.

Contact info:
Pietra Rivoli, Phd
Phone: (202) 687 3775
E-mail: rivolip@msb.edu

Patagonia, a major retailer in casual wear, has been selling fleece
clothing made from postconsumer plastic soda bottles since 1993. This
recycling process takes clear plastic bottles made of polyethylene
terephthalate (PET), melts them, and reconfigures them into fibers that
can be woven into fabrics and other applications. Patagonia is one of
the first and largest clothing retailers to use this material. The
company estimates that between 1993 and 2006 it saved 86 million soda
bottles from ending up in the landfill. Patagonia also recycles its
cotton T-shirts through Italian company Calamai Functional Fabrics.
According to Trailspace.com, an outdoor gear information site, recycling
cotton saves 20,000 liters of water per kilogram of cotton, a
water-intensive crop.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals
(REACH) regulations enacted 1 June 2007 within the EU require clothing
manufacturers and importers to identify and quantify the chemicals used
in their products.


First ever cradle to cradle show

Cradle to Cradle Festival – Blueprint Netherlands
26th of January – 16th of March 2011
Aedes Architekturforum am Pfefferberg, Berlin, Germany
From the 26th of January to the 16th of March, 2011 we celebrated the
first Cradle to Cradle®-Festival in Berlin. Approximately 80 companies
and regions, that work and seek to optimize themselves, their products,
or their city planning according to the Cradle to Cradle® principles,
took part. All participated in the exhibition and the extensive festival
program, which included presentations, panel discussions, workshops and
even a fashion show. Approximately 6,000 people during the course of 80
events were inspired by the festival. The festival was dedicated to the
Dutch firms who have shown themselves to be especially receptive to the
Cradle to Cradle® design concept.

With Cradle to Cradle®, as in nature, there is no such thing as waste,
no having to do without, no limitations. Using biological and
technological nutrient cycles, the right materials are brought to the
right place at the right time.

The aim of the Cradle to Cradle® design concept is to improve the
quality of products so that they:
Have an improved consumer quality for the user
Pose no health risk for anyone who comes into contact with them
Are of both economic and ecological benefit
The Cradle to Cradle® method of production is in direct contrast to the
“Cradle to Grave“ model in which material flows are formed without any
conscious consideration of protecting resources. Rather than attempt to
reduce the linear material flows and present-day methods of production,
the Cradle to Cradle® design concept envisages their redesign into
circular nutrient cycles in which value, once created, remains of worth
to both man and nature.
The Cradle to Cradle® design concept is founded upon three fundamental


Green Homes and Recycling are NOT SO BENEFICIAL AT ALL
Window rentals, compostable clothing: an eco-pioneer's new green vision
German chemist says environmentalists should focus on shifting
consumption mindset from ownership to rental.
According to Dr. Michael Braungart, two of Israel's Environmental
Protection Ministry's flagship initiatives - recycling and promoting
"green" homes - may not be all that beneficial after all. "Much of the
stuff we send for recycling was never made to be recycled and contains a
lot of toxic material that goes on damaging the environment," Braungart
"In 'green' houses, too, nothing inside the homes is designed to prevent
environmental damage. They contain hazardous substances such as glues
and paints that end up causing more pollution inside the house than
outside. Green houses are based on improving insulation, so you just
keep a lot more polluted air inside the building."