Our first homework project was to gather a few pieces of old clothing from our closets or a favourite thrift store. "Upcycling" has been a trend for some time. Old clothing is a fabulous source of fabric or yarn that can be had for free or cheap. It doesn't require new material to be used or purchased. It can be very eco-conscious!
However, there are some caveats. Fast fashion clothing can be so cheaply made that it's not a good candidate for upcycling. High quality clothing usually has a generous seam. Fast fashion items barely have one. Then, thrift shopping has it's own problems with some stores being for-profit and actually expensive. Some chains may actually be a little dodgy--for example, Goodwill was caught underpaying disabled workers in 2013. Lastly, while dropping off old clothes may make someone feel good, there is a chance that they will end up in the rag trade or landfilled (nearshore or offshore). Stores won't take what they can't sell and a lot of clothing just ends up overseas where it can harm local textile economies.
What's a consumer to do? There isn't a perfect answer, but caring for clothing, mending and buying high quality, classic styles when possible might be one solution.
Anyway, from my old closet I found a pink wool blanket that belonged to my mother, an old long-sleeved shirt from hubs and three purple t-shirts of my own. I knew this class was going to involve cast offs, so I hoarded old t-shirts and bubble wrap just in case. I'm glad I did!
What am I making? Stay tuned to find out!