Dumping Fashion Waste on Craft Rooms Instead of Landfills
A Shanghai-based operation solves wastefulness with a bank-friendly business plan
Manufacturing in China means plummeting costs of production. It may be good for businesses that it’s getting cheaper to make things, however, it’s now even easier to just throw consumer items to the dump when they don’t meet expectations, stop working, or boast minor defects. Startup the Squirrelz has an interesting idea to tackle fashion’s millions of tons of fabric that stock up landfills: sell them for cheap to creatives.
When factories receive an order for, let’s say, a red cotton weave, they use tons of water and often dyes with toxic run-offs yet may end up unable to deliver on it because it’s the wrong shade of red. In these situations, factories often have to resort to throwing that good, perfectly brand new and usable material, into a landfill to make space for other orders.
That’s where The Squirrelz comes in. They come to these factories and buy the “waste” for cheap. Then, on their website, they sell these materials on wholesale or retail at prices you wouldn’t be able to beat in the United States.
It all started with Bunny and Nico, co-founders, who discovered stacks upon stacks of doctors’ uniforms ready to be thrown out just because they were of the wrong color. Horrified by this wastefulness, they turned the scrubs into fashionable bags under the brand Wasavy. Now, they’re inviting crafters from all around the world to do the same kind of upcycling.
The current Squirrelz online catalogue includes fabric and trimmings. In it, you can find wools, cotton, suiting and other speciality materials at reasonable wholesale costs. During the launch of their Eco Wholesale online store, the Squirrelz boasted over 1,200 different products showcasing the diversity of materials that could have otherwise been wasted. Bunny Yan, CEO of the Squirrelz adds:
“These ignored but high-quality materials are perfect for designers and crafters worldwide to create with, all the while being eco-conscious without breaking the bank.”
Aside from fabrics, inspiration kits of different fabric trims or notions (buttons, zippers, closures, etc.) are also available for crafters. All products from the Shanghai startup ship from China. Aside from textiles, they also have interesting objects from recovered materials on the online shop.