When used clothing surpasses fast fashion

When used clothing surpasses fast fashion

Alicia Polacok from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability shares what she learned about sustainable fashion and how to waste less clothing.

The Sustainable Fashion Forum was held in Portland in April, providing an opportunity for those in the fashion industry – and those who may be curious (like me!) to learn more – to have an open dialogue about the social and environmental effects fashion has on our world and what we can do to improve it. 

A panel of experts spoke on a variety of topics from cities around the country. There were plenty of Portland connections too, including panelists, stylists and more.

From learning about fair trade certified clothing and what personal stylists can do for you, to thinking about repurposing and repairing, the day was packed with new ideas, tips and tricks, and professionals who can help if you need more inspiration!

Repair, Repurpose, Reinvent

The world of fashion has an overproduction issue. We have plenty of clothes to choose from, so why not wear what you already own, or shop at thrift stores to add to your wardrobe in new ways. Extending the life of our clothing is key and we can do this by wearing what’s in our closet. Organize by color, category and try new things together. One stylist said if you get compliments, then it is working! Confidence is key.

Here’s an idea from a stylist that I am going to try too: Take out 10-15 of your favorite pieces from your closet and put them away for a week. This will force you to wear other stuff you have instead and experiment with different styles.

Another stylist who specializes in buying used clothes at local thrift stores gave this advice: Shop early and often and return to the same places. Once you find some signature pieces, have them altered to fit your body type. Know your body type and measurements, especially when shopping online. Try an item in a new way before getting rid of it, especially if it’s a signature piece. Wear it inside out, backwards, upside down, or experiment and mix-and-match with pieces you already own. Fashion is about breaking the rules with shapes, colors and textures.

A collective path to sustainability

The forum also shared what happens to clothes that make their way to donation centers that can’t use them. Not surprisingly, a large percentage are sent abroad. It is tough to combat these practices, however there are alternatives.

The Fair Trade Certified campaign, We Wear Fair, informs shoppers who is behind the clothes we buy, supporting livelihoods for factory workers and creating transparency in the fashion industry. Consumers drive change when they shop their values, so get informed on brands that are certified by learning more with the guide to fair trade clothing.

FABSCRAP is trying to do something about reusable fabric. Sorting is a difficult but important part of the process by separating out the types of materials that are recyclable. Fabrics that can be recycled are cotton, polyester and wool. Mixed materials may end up as “shoddy”, which is a shred material and not recyclable.

FABSCRAP started in response to waste in the fashion industry in New York City, and shows those in the industry that there is financial and environmental value in materials, by offering reuse and recycling options instead.

The Renewal Workshop in Cascade Locks, Oregon, is about waste minimization. They take discarded apparel and textiles and turn them into Renewed Apparel, upcycled materials or recycling feed stock. They provide the apparel industry a circular and sustainable solution and offer customers a way to become zero waste consumers.

There was so much good stuff shared at the event. You can learn more from these related resources:




Reuse, recycle and dispose of unwanted bulky materials at Portland events

Reuse, recycle and dispose of unwanted bulky materials at Portland events

Clean up for spring at Portland Community Collection Events

Portlanders can clean up their garages, basements or other clutter-filled areas and head to one of over 35 Community Collection Events scheduled this spring. Materials accepted at collection events vary, but the sponsoring neighborhood association or community group may offer a combination of bulky waste collection, an onsite reuse section and a litter pickup activity.

A variety of community groups are providing this convenient service for a reasonable donation or fee. Besides bulky items like furniture, mattresses and appliances locations may accept items for recycling and reuse, like scrap metal and household goods.

The City of Portland’s Community Collection Events, also known as Neighborhood Cleanups, offer neighborhood, community and nonprofit organizations funds for proper disposal of bulky household waste that may otherwise be disposed of inappropriately. The events prioritize recycling and reuse over disposal.

These events do not accept the following items: Hazardous waste materials; all construction, remodeling or demolition materials; all kitchen garbage; residential yard debris and trimmings; commercial landscaping; roofing; waste and recyclables collected curbside; and waste not allowed at a regional transfer station. Learn more about asbestos containing materials at the Metro transfer stations.

Your support in protecting community volunteers and transfer station staff from exposure to asbestos and keeping our neighborhoods clean and safe is appreciated.

Interested in reusing and sharing? Many groups and organizations are free and offer Portland-area residents’ simple ways to move useful materials through the community and into the hands of others who need them.

Have bulky items at other times of the year? Your garbage and recycling company can remove large items that are not reusable or recyclable for an extra charge anytime of the year.

Need a list of this year’s events? Contact the Curbside Hotline at 503-823-7202 to find a Community Collection Event near you.

Shwop is your local membership swap shop

Shwop is your local membership swap shop

Shwop is a membership-based swap boutique for the whole family. It is the smart way to shop and swap your unwanted or unused items in your closet, drawers and jewelry boxes. Everyone shops, members swap!

Owner Marci Pelletier is celebrating both the shop’s seventh anniversary and a recent membership drive that reached 1,000 members. Marci is celebrating both highlights on April 20, 2019.

She found the current location in Sellwood in October 2018 after she outgrew a few other places in Portland. The inventory comes from members and takes items for the family, including men’s and kid items too. They don’t care about seasons and if it’s the right time of year (think sweaters in the summer!) like some used clothing stores do. And they aren’t brand or style specific, which also sets them apart from consignment shops.

The website includes a menu of accepted items, including:

  • Clothes – pants, shirts, sweaters

  • Shoes

  • Jewelry

  • Coats, jackets, fleece

  • Exercise attire

  • Belt, scarves, hats

Marci shares shop and volunteer needs through social media and frequent membership communications. There is structure around volunteering for those who have capacity to help and she welcomes volunteers to sort on Mondays, when the store is closed.

She has offered free pop-up stores for schools during conferences and worked with teachers on clothing drives, particularly in outer Southeast Portland. She sees a need to help others who may have fallen on hard times. Twice a year, she hosts free weekends with no questions asked.

She is hosting events, like tie dye and upcycled t-shirt workshops. These are free to members and open to the public for a small fee.

There is recycling, and reuse efforts made for items not sellable or wearable. Some textiles and fabrics find homes through relationships with artists; items like denim, flannel and cashmere that can be upcycled into usable, sellable goods.

Here are several ways to Shwop!

  1. Become a member: Swap to your heart's content.

  2. No-swap shopping: Just stop by and shop.

  3. Donate: Clean your closet of those items you're not wearing, and they'll donate a shopping voucher to others in need.

Curious about this membership-based swap shop? Learn more about Marci from a previous blog post, get your questions answered online or visit the store for yourself!

A maker space for everyone

A maker space for everyone

Have you wanted to find a place to work on DIY projects, take classes, rent event space, share tools and store extra stuff? 

There’s a place for you in Portland. It’s the Global Homestead Community Garage.

Garage Director, Philip Krain, maintains this community facility where business and individual members share Garage tools, project and event space, as well as knowledge. In addition, The Garage maintains a curated Library of Things, which includes tools and outdoor adventure equipment. It is located at 416 Southeast Oak Street in Portland’s Central Eastside.

We help people grow big ideas using shared resources. Our goal is to create a sharing economy hub for those within the greater community, and provide skills development, which makes sustainable living fun. We provide regular classes on wood and metal working and our strategic partners host workshops on aquaponics, energy, permaculture design, repair and more.
— Philip Krain, Garage Director
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Anyone is invited to be part of this membership-driven community. The Garage has users that range from a single day to 24/7 access. There are also work trade opportunities to fit within various budgets and interests. The wood, metal and jewelry shops are their most established facilities, but they also have an assortment of pop-up shops for bikes, skis, crafting, candle making and more. Fabricators, designers, DIY-ers, crafty teachers, parents and kiddos all have a co-working, movie, class and party place at The Garage.

If you're involved in a mission-based organization or interested in volunteering, strategic partnerships and collaborations are why The Garage exists. Contact Global Homestead Community Garage to learn more.

Buy to Last with BuyMeOnce

Buy to Last with BuyMeOnce

The holidays are a great time to reconsider what we buy.  A recent article in the New York Times about buying items to last resonates this time of year because Resourceful PDX is about thoughtful consumption. The article highlights one woman’s journey to find long-lasting items that are built to last. The story features Tara Button, the creator of BuyMeOnce. Their tagline reads: We find the longest lasting products on the planet. To save you stress, to save you money, to save the planet.

The gist is to move away from throwaway. Seeking items that can last a lifetime may seem old-fashioned, or from another era. However, disposable items or those that are made to break (also known as planned obsolescence) are a waste, in more ways than one.

Instead, BuyMeOnce suggests seeking items for yourself or for others that stand the test of time. From socks and sweaters to blenders and mixing bowls, you can search for what you need or want, and get ideas for the holidays too.

Categories online include:

·         Kitchenware

·         Living

·         Electricals (i.e. appliances and gadgets)

·         Leisure

·         Beauty

·         Kids, women’s and men’s items

If you must give a gift of something, consider an item that the receiver wants, needs and is built to last their lifetime.

Find out more about BuyMeOnce. And check out the Resourceful PDX blog for more local options to buy smart!

Reclaim the holidays

Reclaim the holidays

Customers at ReClaim It! and Community Warehouse Estate Store told us why they choose to give gently used gifts during the holidays and all year round.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

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Sam

“There are so many stories to be told through other people’s items. To re-gift them to another human creates the next chapter in the story.”

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Kyle

“I look for raw materials like reclaimed old-growth wood to make a memorable gift for family or friends.”

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Ann Marie

“I celebrate people in my life by giving experiences, homemade gifts and sharing my time.”

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Riah

“I love to create and repurpose with old items and give them a second life. This is also my favorite way to gift those who are special to me.”

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CK

“The chances of finding something unique are so much greater at resale places and I usually discover special things that remind me of someone I care about.”

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Lloyd

“I take friends out on adventures, make them mix tapes, or really anything I think would make them feel loved and appreciated.”

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Did you know you can find repair shops all over the Portland region through an online database?

Portland Repair Finder is dedicated to helping more people fix more things. The organization makes tools, knowledge and resources easier to find, and helps tell the stories behind repair work. They believe that repairing things is good for the local economy, community and environment, and it is empowering and fun.

The creator of this online tool is Joel Newman. He started the website in 2017 to become a comprehensive access point for repair of all kinds around Portland. His background is in art and design - and bicycle repair.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

He said over the next year they will be revising the search and filtering features, as well as growing the database of repair shops and resources. The ability to search the site by item as well as by mode of repair– whether that's a needed tool for a DIY fix, expert advice or professional repair– is key to showing people the range of options available, and getting more people involved.

One of the cool things about repair work is its ability to add life to a favorite item or keepsake. If you get a favorite pair of jeans or shoes mended or restore a piece of furniture or jewelry that has been in your family for generations, it’s much more unique and memorable than buying something new.

Give the gift of repair

With the holidays upon us, now’s a good time to find alternative gift ideas. Look at who you plan to buy for this year. Would they benefit from a gift certificate from a jeweler, cobbler or for a gadget? Could a family heirloom be repaired, old photos be restored or a favorite outfit brought back to life through alteration? There are 200 businesses included on the Repair Finder.

And don’t forget about free repair events in the region. Both Repair Cafés and Repair Fairs take place around the Portland region throughout the year. Think of these events as an ongoing way to get small repairs made to keep your possessions in circulation and in use. The Resourceful PDX event calendar lists all the repair events taking place, along with other community events.

 



Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

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The holidays are upon us - and that means consideration of how we celebrate the people in our lives.

We can choose to do things differently. Here’s information on two sources that provide ideas outside the gift box.

More fun and less stuff

New Dream empowers individuals, communities, and organizations to transform the ways they consume to improve well-being for people and the planet. They’ve been offering alternatives about gifting for many years, including extensive information and resources about how to celebrate the holidays in ways that are lighter on the planet and your wallet.

The SoKind Registry is a registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more.

Check out the gift ideas section!


Create memories, not garbage

Metro Vancouver, our neighbors to the North have a holiday campaign called Create memories, not garbage.

There is a collection of creative gift ideas, tips for gift wrapping and ideas for celebrating the season – all with the intention to create memories and reduce waste this holiday season.

Get inspired with gift ideas by price range too with the Merry Memory Maker.

Note: The specific places are in and around Vancouver, BC. Check out the Resourceful PDX map for local organizations.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

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The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Are you already overwhelmed with stressful holiday errands and overspending? Worried about getting buried in all the packaging?

Consider a new low-waste way to approach the holidays this year that might save you some money and bring you a little more joy. The Buyerarchy of Needs is a visual guide to remind you of your other options besides buying something new.

As you look over your holiday lists, take a creative moment and ask yourself:

Is there something I already have I could use in a new way? Could I borrow or swap to get what I need? Maybe a thrift or resale shop has it? Can I make it?

Intrigued? Resourceful PDX is your local resource for tips and ideas to make simple changes in everyday choices. In fact, the Resourceful PDX map includes community-based organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials rather than throwing away or buying new.

Resolve to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year to save money and resources. Explore the website for more ideas and tips in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Learn how The Buyerarchy of Needs came to be by designer and illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic.

The Proof is in the Repair

The Proof is in the Repair

Rain Delisle from Indigo Proof gets her hands dirty with denim repair.

Rain sees herself as a repair crafts-person. She wants to help people wear their loved things longer. Her specialty: denim. If you thought your favorite jeans that got holes in the seat are goners, she’s here to prove you wrong and get them back on your legs.

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Boston, she moved to San Francisco and worked as a contractor for three years in the fashion industry repairing denim. With much trial and error, she developed her unique style and technique of repairing jeans - and it quickly became in high demand.

She began posting her work on a blog called Indigo Proof, a name she used to describe the blue hands she gets working with indigo and denim - the “proof” on her hands at the end of the day.

In December 2015, Rain moved to Portland to launch her own denim repair company, Indigo Proof Denim Repair. Portland was a natural fit for her business, knowing Portland residents are into a lot of unique things, especially repair as a philosophy.

I love to sew and get my hands dirty. I was interested in creating a niche for repair work I hadn’t seen in the market - a quality repair that lasts and gets better over time. Each pair of ripped jeans is a different problem to be solved and it can be difficult at times to find the answer, but that’s the fun of it!

Not just about Levi’s

Indigo Proof is in East Creative, an artist and creative space in Portland’s Central Eastside. There she has a steady stream of clients who have discovered her mostly through social media, who arrive with their torn jeans and a glimmer of hope that their long gone favorite pair can be able to be worn again. Her Instagram features a hashtag where clients can post and tag her in their wear photos - “jeans that have been repaired are a part of someone’s life, not just another pair of pants.” Depending on the severity of the damage, repairs can take anywhere from one hour to multiple full days of work.

“Raw denim starts as a blank canvas; each wearer creates their own unique fades depending on what they do in their jeans- like a fingerprint. No two pairs of the exact same jean will look the same on two different people- someone could keep a knife or phone in their front pocket creating faded outlines of their daily carry, the other could be a photographer and kneel on their right knee a little more causing accelerated fading in the knees. These little things determine how your jeans look over time.”

People “work on” their denim, meaning they wear in their jeans. Some of those people ship her their jeans from all over the world; New Zealand, Bahrain, Norway and the UK. These denim fanatics are lovingly referred to as “denim heads” and they even compete in global contests for fading a pair of jeans!

“Once they get to this worn-in and broken-in state, all that use can create thinning areas and rips- this is not the time to toss them after you’ve put in all that wear, they’re just starting to get good! I want to help people wear their jeans longer, so they can enjoy their old jeans as if they were new again.”

Get your jeans fixed

Contact Rain for repair rates, which are based on a full evaluation of what the jeans need to be restored. This year, she expanded her business to include denim alterations like tapering and tailoring, so Indigo Proof can be your destination for all denim services. She plans on growing even more this next year!