Every item that artists sell at the Austin Creative Reuse Holiday Market is made out of material that had a previous life. But one look at Aileen Chen’s pieces, and you might wonder why her brand Revision Goods is at a reuse market.
Chen creates home goods from upcycled materials, but it doesn’t look like the typical material you would think of when you hear about repurposing fabric scraps. Chen gets much of her fabric from interior design firms or architectural firms that have extra materials.
"It's really quite a premium feel; It's upholstery,” Chen said.
Chen uses what is called “deadstock,” which is the leftover fabric when garment or other manufacturers buy and create a large bolt of fabric. Most of the time, this leftover fabric cannot be re-sold once it’s cut from the bolt, so it will get thrown away without ever getting touched.
"If nobody uses it, it actually goes to the landfill,” Chen said.
And to even create these large fabric bolts, it’ll cost a lot of wasted water. According to the World Wildlife Fund (in 2014), it takes 713 gallons, or 2,700 liters, of water to produce the cotton needed for one t-shirt. That’s equivalent to almost three years worth of drinking water.
This waste is what got Chen thinking she wanted to change the perspective of shoppers.
"I think there's sometimes that skepticism of, you know, ‘I want new things’ or ‘I want to gift new things,’ but I think as you think about how much material is out there, that actually is still very premium and also is really still beautiful and clean and usable,” Chen said.
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