I began Flux Bene in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, five years of professional experience in custom sewing, pattern making and surface design, a lifelong love of textiles, and a passion for creative reuse. In the wake of the Rena Plaza tragedy, and the illumination of global garment industry labor practices, I was additionally struck by the reality of the hundreds of thousands of pounds of clothing that is produced and wasted each year.
Looking into it, I discovered a system in which cheap clothing was overproduced and large corporations were making enormous profits by paying their skilled sewing labor in pennies, brashly polluting the environment, and marketing to our insecurities. In fact- these corporations first INVENT our insecurities, then they market to them. The entire system was (and still is) repulsive to me. I was angry, and driven to act.
From organizations like Fashion Revolution, I learned that a large portion of the clothing that is donated each year to American thrift and charity shops goes unsold, and is instead shipped abroad where it is either shredded for scrap, or sold cheaply in markets (thus decimating the local garment industries in those countries). On the even darker side of that coin, many garments produced by large corporations are destroyed before even making it to the stores. This is to prevent “oversaturation of the market.”
When I think of the natural resources and human hours that go into making these garments- side note: all garments are made by hand- I am saddened to see how little those resources & hours are valued within that system. As I brainstormed the problem and considered where my specific skills might help, I landed on the concept behind Flux Bene. By sourcing used garments that are unlikely to be worn in their current state, and re-imagining them, I honor the labor and the materials that have gone into those garments.
In the production of the original garment, many natural resources were used (and abused). Cotton was factory farmed, pesticides were sprayed, chemical garment dyes were utilized and ultimately drained into groundwater and streams, fossil fuels were used to ship materials and finished goods across the world and back again. In saving these garments from a landfill for a while longer, I honor the sacrifices that the earth has already made, instead of asking her for more. If someone purchases a Flux Bene piece instead of a brand new fast-fashion garment, the positive impact is doubled.
In the production of the original garment, human labor was expended. Humans grew the cotton, mixed the dyes, wove the cloth, created the pattern, cut the pieces, sewed & pressed every seam, packaged, shipped and transported each one. Imagine all of those hours!! In keeping these garments in circulation and adding artistry to them, I honor the human effort that went into each part of their creation instead of asking for more. When someone purchases a Flux Bene piece, they are in turn honoring the effort made, and the impact is doubled.
Flux Bene is in no way a fashion label- we are a creative recycling strategy. I have no interest in making new things. I have a fiery, driving, all-consuming interest and passion for finding ways to creatively reuse what already exists. I believe that each of us has a set of gifts that we are meant to develop and share in this lifetime. These gifts can seem wide-ranging and individualized, but ultimately they all originate from a combination of nurturing, healing and protecting. These are the three things that all living creatures need, and each of us has our own method of sharing them toward the greater good.
I heard in a Ted Talk once (lol) that if you are trying to discover what your “purpose” is, you should stop obsessing over the question, and simply follow what interests you. Following your interest is essentially following your intuition, and in time, that will lead you to the right place, to the spot where you can do the most good. That advice is what led me to Flux Bene. By developing and sharing my skills and interest in creative pattern development, surface design, and reuse, I am able to protect the earth while nurturing and healing myself and others through art. I know that art heals. Making art, viewing art, living our lives in an artful way- this is medicine for our souls.
In conclusion, (can anyone write that phrase without thinking of your 9th grade English teacher?).
The mission of Flux Bene is to honor and protect precious resources. Through creative reuse, we make art that nurtures and heals with beauty and playfulness.
Thank you for valuing our work! Without you, I would just be 1 girl with five hundred heavily pocketed clothing items of various sizes in my closest ; )
Pt. 2 coming up - - - - - - -