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value without subtracting Thesis Pamphlet

Sharmaine Wilson Thesis 1 Fall 2011


the BIG problem 2-4 recycling helps but repurposing works 5-9 my thesis 10-13

the BIG problem..... is pollution Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem. Some of these residues are unconverted raw material, some are uncovered products and some are by products produced during the manufacturing or processing. In other words, pollution is a sign of inefficiency in industrial production. One type of pollution that has not been acknowledge as much as it should be is the pollution of textiles and clothing. During the production of textiles, the pollution of air, water, noise and vibration are being released into our beautiful mother earth.


The pollution of clothing is a big issue that is going on in the U.S. especially here in New York City the capitol of fashion. Early last year the New York Times released an article about the throwing away of un-used clothing from stores such as H&M and Wal-Mart. Behind the stores were trash bags of garments that appeared to have not been worn and to make sure that they would not be worn or resold, H&M had cut and slashed holes in the garments. Wal-Mart is also another big name company that is mentioned in the article for throwing away clothing that had holes punched in them. Everyday clothes and textiles are being thrown away to continue their life rotting away on a landfill when instead they could be part of the solution of repurposing.


Un-worn T-shirt found in trash bag infront of Wal-Mart in NYC with hole cut into it.


recycling helps but, repurposing works Recycling helps prevent and make pollution go away but in reality it is not as effective as reusing and repurposing. Recycling is processing used materials (waste) into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials. The main problem with recycling is that during the process, more energy is being used and pollution is being released into the environment to create these new products. Eventually the new product that is created by recycling will be thrown away in a landfill or will repeat the same process until it can no longer be recycled anymore. Recycling helps but repurposing works. Reusing is the action of using an item more than once. To reuse this includes the conventional act of reusing, and a new-life reuse where it is used for a different action. By taking useful products and exchanging them, without reprocessing, reuse help save time, money, energy, and resources. In economic terms, reuse offers quality products to people and organizations with limited means, while generating jobs and business activity that contribute to the economy.


Yellow page book turned into a pen and pencil holder.


A way to help fix the problem of textile pollution and the throwing away of clothing is by textile recycling. Textile recycling is the method of reusing or reprocessing used clothing, fibrous materials and clothing straps from manufacturing process. For consumers the most common way of textile recycling is to reuse through reselling, donating to charity or making new clothing out of the recycled goods.

Sorting out of recycled clothing in a factory.


A new term for making new products out of old is upcycling. Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other half of the recycling process. Downcycling involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material.

New t-shirt created out of parts of used t-shirts.


Tote bag made from old suit jacket. Designed by Evon Cassier


my thesis After reading the article about H&M throwing away unworn clothing and learning how textile pollution is such a big issue it sprung up an idea. Over the past year I have developed a bag company called oka. At oka we don’t like waste. oka‘s mission is to bring our customers high quality repurposed products that give our customers utility and style without pretense. The goal of oka is creating great products out of existing local materials and resources. Our philosophy is simple, the less we waste, the more we save. It’s a small effort, but one that we believe in very much. Oka supports and takes action in repurposing. We feel that repurposing adds value without subtracting resources, and the products go straight back to the communities of their material origin. The oka is 100% repurposed, upcycled and one of a kind. The bags are made out of pre-owned t-shirts and jeans; the outer layer of the bag being constructed out of t-shirt material, and the interface structure made out of jean fabric.



With my thesis I want to bring the awareness of repurposing and its positive affect on the community, help in the fight against pollution and create new useful items like oka bags out of used items. The process in which I would like to conceive this awareness is yet to be determined but I would like for it to have an impact. Impacting the viewer helps them understand the problem and solution instantly, which is needed for the problem of textile pollution and the solution of repurposing to be understood. A possible approach for my thesis would be co-branding. Co-branding is an arrangement that associates a single product or service with more than one brand name, or otherwise associates a product with someone other than the principal producer. Co-branding Oka with a company that already is involved in textile recycling or upcycling like Salvation Army, The Goodwill, Purple Heart, or Planetaid could be a great way to show the community the positive impact of repurposing.


Examples of co-branding:

Adidas - Polar Electro Adidas (ADDDY) and Polar Electro created Project Fusion, which integrates heart rate and speed and distance monitoring equipment into sports apparel. Apple - Nike Nike (NKE) and Apple (AAPL) brought music and exercise together when they developed the Sports Kit, a wireless system that allows shoes to talk to an iPod. The Art of Shaving - Gillette The Art of Shaving designed the Fusion Chrome Collection, which is only compatible with Gillette (PG) blade cartridges. The power razor is the centerpiece of this partnership and costs $150. Benjamin Moore - Pottery Barn Customers asked constantly about the paint colors shown in the Pottery Barn catalog, so the company decided to team up with Benjamin Moore to create a color palette for each season. The Global Fund (Red) - Various Arguably one of the largest partnership efforts ever, the Global Fund joined forces with American Express (AXP), Apple (AAPL), Converse (NKE), Dell (DELL), Emporio Armani, Gap (GAP), Hallmark, and Starbucks (SBUX) to fight AIDS in Africa. The effort is known as (Red) and has raised more than $130 million. Issac Mizrahi - Target The acclaimed Issac Mizrahi designed a women’s ready-to-wear line for Target (TGT) stores. The partnership lasted five years and ended in January 2008. Target continues to co-brand with other high-end designers such as Liz Lange, Tracy Feith, and Angie and Lola.


carry on, be part of the solution

Value Without Subtracting  
Value Without Subtracting  

A pamphlet that explains my thesis in theree chapters.