Fast fashion is a big problem. If you are here on this page, I'm sure that isn't news to you. The garment industry is responsible for vast amounts of air & water pollution as well as solid waste pollution sent to landfills. Some sources even cite the global textile industry as the second largest source of industrial pollution on earth.
Sorry to start off with the bad news!
The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way! We have a plan to make a small difference that could - in time- maybe even help to bring about a larger change.
Since beginning Flux Bene, I have been searching for a way to quantify our impact. I know that we are doing good work in sustainability, and I want a way to conceptualize and grow the positive change that we are facilitating.
Here’s my plan!
Flux Bene is going to facilitate the reuse of 10,000 garments by June 2025
When I began Flux Bene in 2017, I saw a set of problems in the textile & clothing industry: rampant pollution, worker abuses, overconsumption and lack of pockets, and I thought I might be able to help. As of November 2021, I estimate that we have reimagined / reused 1,300 garments. This estimate is based on our monthly average of producing 24 pieces / month + plus some more added for the times when we use second hand pants as extra fabric - minus a few months when we definitely produced fewer pieces + plus holiday seasons when we were producing more. I believe this is a very fair estimate.
I have a plan that may allow us to increase our production to around 32 pieces / month, but I really don’t see our production expanding far beyond that. These pieces are time consuming, but also- I am much more interested in quality than I am in quantity. The 24-32 / month range is a sweet spot for us creatively, and I don’t want to water down the good stuff.
So, we have repurposed 1300 garments in 4 years. And our goal is to repurpose 8,700 more over the next 3.5 years. HOW ARE WE GOING TO DO THAT?!
In order to reach our goal of facilitating 10,000 garments reused by June 2025, we need YOU to upcycle garments too! We need your help. This is where our sewing patterns come in.
We released our first sewing pattern, The Flughafen, in June of this year. To date, it has been downloaded 95 times. If we count each of those downloads as one garment reused, that brings our up-to-date total to 1,395.
I have to say here- I know that everyone who downloaded the pattern has not yet used the pattern. I sew, so I know (lol). We all have dozens of patterns that we have purchased and not used. BUT, I also know of people who downloaded the pattern and have already made multiple Flughafens. So, for the sake of mathematical ease and sanity, I am going to count each pattern download as one repurposed garment.
I did some calculations. I made some spreadsheets. I even made a graph. It seems to me that if we increase our current production levels slightly & release two new patterns per year over the next 3.5 years, AND if the number of pattern downloads grows with each pattern released, we can easily reach 10k repurposed garments by June 2025.
Why June? Because June is my birthday month, and has proven to be a good month for celebration parties. Also, if we find that we are falling short of our goal, I can just extend our timeline by 6 months and still reach it within the year : ) Flexibility!
I have added a counter to our homepage, so that you can check in anytime to see how things are going. I expect our total to grow slowly at first, and pick up speed as more patterns are released.
Our next pattern release will be the Sketchbook Jacket, and it will be available in Spring 2022, hopefully in time for Me Made May. I currently plan to continue offering free downloads of the main patterns to keep upcycling accessible to all.
One thing that really excites me about this plan is the ripple effect that I believe will be possible. When you wear your Flux Bene, someone else may see it and be inspired to sew their own, which then someone else may see, and so on until reuse of garments will become the norm rather than a novelty. The way things used to be!
I am looking forward to tracking our progress and eventually reaching this goal together!!
If you do not sew, but still want to be a part of our mission, all of these actions are very helpful:
- Share our story, work, and mission with your friends, family and coworkers
- Support our work financially by investing in one of our finished pieces
- Want to help in another way? Please feel free to reach out! We need models, pattern testers, second hand fabric donations, and more! We need a neat looking goal tracking graphic that I can use on our homepage & update each month. There is room for many skills!
Thank you all for being here on this sustainable clothing journey! You really are the best.
Upon reaching this goal, my next goal will be to publish a book on sewing garments sustainably. Just throwing it out there in case any publishers are in the audience ; )
*** The slides in this post were made by me using data from Fashion Revolution. Please visit their site for more info, and to get involved. The landfill photo at the top of the post is also from their website.***