You know how good you feel when you donate unwanted clothing to charity? Well, think again.
“That clothing gets sent to third world countries and disrupts their artisan markets,” says Colleen Coughlin, owner of the Full Edit, a zero-waste lifestyle consulting agency. “Only 10 percent of the stuff we donate to charity is sold.”
A former designer at Victoria’s Secret, Coughlin began the Full Edit after witnessing the “incredible waste” of thousands of pounds worth of fabric samples, buttons and zippers being discarded in the company’s annual purge. The company helps people learn to become more conscious, less wasteful consumers.
Coughlin is bringing sustainable yet trendy clothes to Seed Food & Wine Week with Catwalk: A Night of Conscious Fashion.The event features a fashion show using ethical, sustainable, upcycled or reused clothing.
Coughlin says the event will feature brands that are rising to the challenge of cleaning up the textile industry. “Ethical is definitely trending,” she says. “The way you spend your money is the type of world you want to live in.”
One sustainable manufacturer taking part in the fashion show is Nomad Tribe. Venezuelan co-founder Alvaro De Jesus says he has witnessed first-hand the amount of donated clothing that ends up in landfills.
“When people think about recycling, they think about plastic, which is obviously a major issue, but the rise of fast fashion in the last decade has an impact that we need to start addressing,” he says.
De Jesus collects post-consumer textile waste from countries like Peru, Guatemala and Haiti and turns it into the brand’s casual, boho-style clothing for men and women. De Jesus says that Nomad Tribe works directly with artisans and not through middle men, resulting in higher wages for workers.
Fashionistas can even bring unwanted clothing once a month to Nomad Tribe’s Miami studio and have it made into something new and fashionable by designers and seamstresses.
“They leave with one-of-a-kind pieces that are all made out of unwanted clothing,” De Jesus says.
Catwalk: A Night of Conscious Fashion at Seed Food & Wine Week. 8 p.m. Friday, November 9 at the Sacred Space, 105 NE 24 St., Miami. Tickets cost $30 via Eventbrite.com.