Fashion Reconstruction and Sustainability

This is a guest post by Cosmas Osinachim Ihenacho-Herbert.

Reconstruction is the process where designers breathe new life into old and unwanted clothing to make something new and desirable. The environmental benefits of reconstruction are immense. Ultimately, the Earth’s limited supply of natural resources simply cannot sustain our current rates of consumption as at some point resources will run out. Therefore, in the near future, recycling and reconstruction will not be an elective choice - they will become a necessity.

Today, we consume about 400 percent more clothes than we did two decades ago. As fashion consumption rises, so does waste. Many of the clothes entering landfills are still in good quality and represent valuable materials. In the UK alone, an estimated £140 million worth of used clothes enter landfills every year. In a country like Nigeria, such waste is highly detrimental to the economic and social health of the people. When textiles are wasted so too are the resources, both natural and human labour resources, which were invested and imbedded into the textiles. By reconstructing garments, the lifespan of the materials are prolonged and so also the textile’s  lifecycle, unnecessary  textile production will be reduced,  and subsequently, landfill  pressure and the demand for natural resources. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals throws emphasis on climate action, sustainability and equitable production of goods and services. Nations can no longer ignore the fact that climate change requires effective and conscious action in order to curb it. Reconstruction unlocks potential while paying attention to sustainable practices and:

  • Encourages creativity in the treatment of the recycled textile materials with the goal that the finished product fits in with the normal standards.

  • The most viable objective is sustainability. Fashion has become a fast moving consumer good that is ‘in one season and out the next’ and as a result we consume 60 percent more clothes today with the underlying negative outcomes than we did 10 years ago. Gone are the days of previous generations who learnt to cherish, respect, repair and recycle their clothing. Instead, vast amounts of good quality clothing are sent to landfills every day.

Textile Recycling and Reuse

Recycling implies the breakdown of an object into its unrefined materials with the end goal that the rough material can be recuperated and used as a piece of new item.  On the other hand, to recycle insinuates an object being used again inside a comparable creation chain. Textile material recycling is the strategy by which old pieces of clothing and diverse materials are recovered for recycling or material recovery. It is the explanation behind the material recycling industry. Since materials are almost 100% recyclable, nothing in the material and attire industry ought to be squandered. Fiber utilization development is a twofold edged sword in that while expanded fiber utilization stimulates the economy, it likewise contributes altogether to the issue of employment and sustainability. As shoppers keep on buying at a rate that meets wants as opposed to needs, the issue of what to do with squander is intensified. Material waste is made out of both common and engineered materials, for example, cotton, fleece, polyester, nylon and spandex. After engineered filaments went onto the market in the mid twentieth century, material recycling turned out to be more intricate for two unmistakable reasons:  

  • Expanded fiber quality made it harder to shred or “open" the fibers. Fiber mixes made it harder to purge the arranging procedure. As of late, an assortment of procedures and innovations have been executed for recycling materials, including the Council for Textile Recycling(CTR) requires a zero-squander objective by 2037.

  • Zero waste ideas consider the whole life cycle of products. The procedure of material recycling happens when post mechanical or post-consumer squander enters the recycling pipeline through assembling waste accumulation or passing on to someone else for reuse. Tragically, this procedure does not block material waste from winding up in landfills. More research is expected to precisely survey natural benefits of coordinating reused materials into new items.

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Types of Waste from Textile Industry

The waste created from material industry can be grouped into two sorts in light of the material use as

  • Pre-consumer waste

  • Post-consumer waste

Pre-consumer Waste

Pre-consumer waste is a  material that was disposed of before it was prepared for customer utilization. Pre-consumer recycled materials can be separated and revamped into** comparative or diverse materials, or can be sold as such to outsider purchasers who at that point utilize those materials for buyer items. Pre-consumer material waste for the most part alludes to malformed results from fiber, yarn, material, and clothing fabricating. It can be processed scraps, clippings, or merchandise harmed amid creation, and most can be recovered and recycled as crude materials for the car, furniture, sleeping cushion, coarse yarn, home outfitting, paper, and different ventures. Pre-consumer **squanders are produced all through the first phases of the inventory network. These materials could be effectively utilized during the course of the empowerment project. 

Post-consumer Waste

Post-consumer material waste for the most part alludes to any item that the individual does not require anymore and chooses to dispose of because of wear or harm and regularly incorporates utilized or worn apparel, bed cloths, towels, and other buyer materials. Post consumer squander which can be recuperated are dresses, wraps/window ornaments, towels, sheets and covers, clean clothes and sewing leftovers, table materials, belts, totes, matched shoes and socks. Post-consumer waste is brought from general society, which incorporates things that have no more use for the proprietor. Any apparel or textile material is defined as a sustainable one, when it provides the maximum benefit to the people and minimum impact on environment in all means. In a basic term, every last piece of clothing has a environmental footprint at each phase in its creation. 

** Benefits of Textile Recycling**

  • Recycled garments lessen the landfill space. Landfill destinations represent a risk to the earth and water supplies. When it downpours, water depletes through the disposed of garments and grabs perilous chemicals and fades. This water ends up being lethal. Material produced using engineered fibers won't deteriorate rapidly though textures like fleece discharges methane, during disintegration and the two fibers eventually cause a worldwide temperature alteration. At the point when these textures are recycled, this risk will be diminished to a significant degree.

  • It saves money on utilization of vitality, as recycled garments require not be recolored or sourced. Lessened utilization of colors and chemicals limits their make and eventually the unfavorable impacts of their fabricate.

  • It decreases cost of acquiring new materials and expands profit efficiency.

  • It additionally limits the expenses of transfer of new virgin or crude materials and furthermore the ecological effects by decreasing utilization of new crude materials and delivering items from prior one.

  • Textile recycling does not make any new unsafe waste.


*Over 60% of young individuals in Nigeria between age 15 – 23 are unsure of their future and how to advance into the World of Work.

To this end, Gradrange seeks to bridge the gap between the classroom and the rapidly changing labour market by educating young individuals about the culture, opportunities, challenges, and future for employment in various fields.*

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