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The Worn, The Torn, The Wearable: textile recycling in Union Square
University of Borås, Swedish School of Textiles.
2012 (English)In: Nordic Textile Journal, ISSN 1404-2487, Vol. 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
The content falls within the scope of Sustainable Development
Abstract [en]

This narrative focuses on one aspect of the growing phenomenon of textile recycling: the act of “getting rid of” one’s no longer wanted clothing. The story here derives from many visits to Wearable Collections, a business that collects apparel (as well as towels, sheets, shoes, and other textiles) with an “inlet” at the popular Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. Over several months, I watched hundreds of individuals drop off thousands of kilos of materials for recycling and talked with many of them about what they were doing and why they were doing it. This investigation was undertaken for two purposes. On one hand, it was a device for practicing a variety of ethnographic field methods to support my current Ph.D. action research with enterprises aiming to build more sustainable fashion systems. On the other hand, it was a means to gain knowledge of what is happening with textile recycling in New York City. The pages that follow have been excerpted from a longer and broader account. The term textile recycling is used here broadly. It encompasses upcycling (for example, making a dress from old dresses, or producing yarn from trimmings from garment manufacturing); downcycling (such as shredding worn out textiles for insulation); practices such as selling, swapping, or giving away; and any other ways of reusing or repurposing that saves — or at least delays — textiles from being buried in landfills or otherwise wasted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Textile Research Centre: Swedish School of Textiles , 2012. Vol. 1
Keyword [en]
textile recycling, second-hand clothing, textile waste management, sustainable fashion, Union Square Greenmarket
National Category
Other Humanities
Research subject
Textiles and Fashion (General)
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-1573Local ID: 2320/12345OAI: diva2:869631
Available from: 2015-11-13 Created: 2015-11-13 Last updated: 2016-03-15

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Goldsmith, David
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