Let me introduce myself: My name is Stevie Leigh and my latest project have been working with upcycled t-shirts and denim scraps from tailor shops under the brand name #REMIX by Stevie Leigh. I studied Sustainable Fashion Design at Parsons: The New School for Design, receiving my BFA in 2014. Shortly after graduation, I found myself working in a tailor shop in Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Here I hemmed hundreds of jeans weekly and became disgusted that all the excess, brand new denim from these high quality jeans that was cut off in the hemming process was going directly into the garbage. I knew I needed to take action. So I began collecting all the denim scraps my tailor shop created everyday and piecing them together into something new.
This is upcycling fashion at its finest. The actual definition for the word 'Upcycle' is:
Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.
I found that the tailor shop I worked in created approximately 12lbs of denim scraps every month! And to further measure things, this company has 111 other tailor shops across the country, so that's approximately 1,332lbs of denim scraps per ONE company a month!
It's estimated that it takes 1,320 gallons of water to create one pound of cotton, and since denim jeans are mainly made of cotton, it is unimaginable how much a simple act of throwing away a few denim scraps cost the environment.
Upcycling reduces the need for new virgin materials to be made, therefore saving not only natural resources but also keeping our landfills from growing.
Each #REMIX by Stevie Leigh upcycled garment is a step towards a more sustainable future and I am committed to continue this journey through upcycled fashion until throwing away fabric scraps is a thing of the past.