Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse
Three Stories of Sustainable Design
Sustainable fashion: the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, looks at textile recyling and upcycling in the work of three designers
Published by Cooper Hewitt.
By Susan Brown, Matilda McQuaid.
The textile and fashion industries produce millions of tons of solid waste every year through the many processes used--from yarn production, weaving, knitting, dyeing and finishing, to apparel construction, quality inspection and unsold goods--generating waste at each step. Typically, this waste is sent to landfills, incinerated or, at best, recycled into low-quality fibers used for industrial applications. Scraps, published for Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s exhibition of the same name, presents three designers’ alternative approaches to the shockingly high human and environmental costs of textile industry waste.
Christina Kim, founder of Los Angeles–based brand Dosa; Reiko Sudo, cofounder of Tokyo textile firm Nuno; and Luisa Cevese, founder of Milan-based accessories and home goods company Riedizioni, all share a profound respect for scraps as repositories of raw materials, energy, labor and creativity. Inspired by the long tradition of using handcraft to give new life to scraps and castoffs, each takes an entirely different approach to contending with textile waste, but all agree that there is much to be gained--aesthetically and financially, as well as environmentally and socially--by making recycling an integral part of their design practice.
The delicate beauty of the fabrics featured here ensures a seductive visual experience, framing the exploration of sustainable design practices: using materials and resources efficiently, providing meaningful labor, sustaining local craft traditions and exploring new technologies as integral to the recycling process. Each copy of the book is bound in its own unique discarded Indian woodblock-printed textile with foil stamping.
Susan Brown joined Cooper Hewitt in 2001, where she is Associate Curator of Textiles. She has contributed to exhibitions and publications including Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance, Fashioning Felt, Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, Quicktakes: Rodarte, and David Adjaye Selects. She currently serves on the board of the Textile Society of America.
Matilda McQuaid is Deputy Director of Curatorial and Head of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She has organized numerous critically acclaimed architecture and design exhibitions including Tools: Extending Our Reach (2014), Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay (2011), Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance (2005), and Josef + Anni Albers: Designs for Living (2004). Formerly at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC) for 15 years where she curated over 30 exhibitions, she is also an accomplished author and editor on art, architecture, and design, with many books, exhibition catalogues and articles to her credit.