A Store Full of Free & Zero Waste

A store where everything is free and a fashion line that engenders zero waste may sound like oxymorons, but, in fact, these are two very real new additions to the fashion industry. First, meet the Brooklyn Free, not to be confused with the Brooklyn Flea (the latter, remember, allows for the exchange of money and goods, while the former stays true to its moniker). “For six weeks, a group of people have been engaged in an unusual project in Bedford-Stuyvesant that they are calling the Brooklyn Free Store, where everything is available for the taking and nothing is for sale,” says the New York Times. Located on Walworth Street, near De Kalb Avenue, the fenced-in makeshift shop stocks vintage wing tips and fur coats, tomes by Plato, and a variety of other objects–most of which are donated–says the paper.

Perhaps equally unbelievable but just as legitimate is the tale of the clothing line that produces no unnecessary byproduct. “Apparel industry professionals say that about 15 to 20 percent of the fabric used to produce clothing winds up in the nation’s landfills because it’s cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them,” says the NYT in a separate story today. The root of the problem? The fact that clothes are cut according to patterns so whichever materials fall outside of the patters are typically deemed superfluous and therefore tossed in the garbage. Rebellion against such waste has surfaced in the form of designers reworking vintage and/or sourcing deadstock fabrics for designs so as to recycle formerly discarded fabrics.

But now the concept of cutting partners and shaping garments without wasting a single scrap is taking hold. “Next month, Parsons the New School for Design… will offer one of the world’s first fashion courses in zero waste,” while two separate exhibits focused on ‘zero waste’ will debut in New Zealand and New York (in the spring and fall of 2011, respectively), says the NYT. Both concepts may sound far-fetched at first, but if fashion can learn to embrace ‘no pants’ and 8-inch heels, why not stores where everything is free and clothing that causes no waste?

Photo via the New York Times