Looptworks: Exploring Leather Waste

Last year, I discovered Looptworks through the eco-fashion grapevine, and immediately fell in love.

Looptworks, like Seamly.co, is closing the “loop” when it comes to excess fabrics and re-use. They locate excess materials and create new goods in nearby factories (Indonesia, Malaysia, China, India, Peru, the US), creating local production systems centered around waste.

A mutual friend introduced us to talk about a new leather project they’re launching. I had no idea about the waste centered around leather and tanneries:

“Vegans, cover your eyes, this is going to get into some interesting detail. One of our favorite challenges, we get leather by the truckload from the world’s biggest shoe leather manufacturer. When they’re discerning what material to use, they filter out the parts of the hide that have natural blemishes, bug bites or scratches from the cow’s skin. How much? One factory can generate 4500 lbs of excess scraps a day! We rescue those scraps, cleaning and sorting them by color and usable sizes. Of those, we press, iron and cut them into uniform squares that then serve as the building blocks of our gear, stitched together into iPad case/stands, laptop sleeves and more.”

The truth is that waste is everywhere. Factories all over the world discard slightly-imperfect materials — and not just the fashion industry. Where does that go? Who deals with the waste? What kind of functional goods could we create with that excess?

What could we save in the process?

Alongside companies like Looptworks, we’re trying to slowly reduce the needless waste in fashion.

To celebrate like-minds and new journeys, we shot a few photos of the Shiji Wristlet and our convertible Jenny Dress.

You can visit Looptworks here and be friends with them here.




Kristin Glenn

Hi! I'm Kristin, the founder / designer at Seamly.co. A few years ago, I became obsessed with sustainable fashion, co-founding {r}evolution apparel and Kickstarting "the Versalette" -- without knowing how to sew industrially or draft a pattern. Now, I'm going back to the basics, and learning how this big fashion machine works...

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