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A Brief But Spectacular take on textile waste and fashion sustainability
Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.
Amna Nawaz: Camille Tagle is the co-founder and creative director of FABSCRAP, which is a textile recycling nonprofit.
Textiles generate 21 billion pounds of waste that goes into landfills every year, and FABSCRAP works to divert that waste either by downcycling or giving the fabric new life.
Tonight, Tagle shares her Brief But Spectacular take on textile waste, fashion, and sustainability.
Camille Tagle, Co-Founder and Creative Director, FABSCRAP: When I was really young, I think I was always just mesmerized by dresses and gowns and all of the really beautiful, elaborate fashion pieces that I would see go down the runway.
Looking back, I was really fortunate to have made it in the industry as a designer, being at runway shows, having gowns go down the red carpet, having my designs featured in major retailers.
But when I was seeing all the waste that was accumulating from that design process and how much personally I was adding to the waste, it really made me ask myself, what is my contribution to society?
Commercial textile waste is a huge issue that that is normally not really seen or known about because it's very much an industry practice. It's estimated that commercial textile waste is actually 40 times greater than residential waste. For me personally, it was a very tough decision to kind of walk away from essentially a dream job, a career that I had worked my entire life.
But moving away from design and opting towards work in sustainability has been something that I have never regretted. FABSCRAP is a textile recycling nonprofit. And I started this with my co-founder, Jessica Schreiber.
When we met, we realized that, with each of our backgrounds, we would essentially accomplish maximum diversion from landfill. Jessica had a background in sanitation. And so she really understood collection and recycling. And my background was in fashion design. And so I really understood the importance of the material.
The way in which we keep fabric out of landfill is to sort it by hand. This is how we decide if a fabric is downcycled into insulation, or if it can continue its life with reuse. If the fabric is large enough to be reused, then we put that towards our thrift store, and the prices are discounted.
One of the biggest barriers to sustainability really comes down to awareness. And that's both for companies and consumers. Consumers really have a lot of power. One of the best ways that you could really make an impact is supporting brands who are doing more sustainable and ethical work with your dollar, when shopping for an item, really thinking about the longevity of that piece, what the end of life would be once you're done with it, that it's super important to keep fabric out of landfill and away from incineration.
The more that we can extend the life of a fabric or anything that we actually use or consume on the day-to-day is going to be super important for us to combat climate change.
My name is Camille Tagle, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on textile waste and fashion sustainability.
Amna Nawaz: And you can watch more of our Brief But Spectacular series on our Web site. That's PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.