NYC-based cashmere clothing company White + Warren introduced a new winter collection made from reclaiming and recycling existing sweaters. The process involves stripping cashmere down to its natural fibers, and then re-weaving them into new garments, Forbes reported.
“Morrissey stumbled onto the idea of sustainable cashmere while her design team was attending a luxury fabric trade show in Italy this past year,” Forbes contributor Caroline Tell wrote.
For the fashion label’s 2017 winter collection, artisans at a family-owned mill in Tuscany sort through unworn cashmere sweaters looking for high quality knits, the White + Warren site explains. The artisans remove the linking and cut the garment into separate panels.
“The panels are then shredded into fiber form by a 100-year-old machine and stripped of their original color,” the site says. “Next, the cashmere fibers are re-dyed and re-spun into yarn that will soon become one of the four styles in this collection.”
Susan White Morrissey worked in corporate retail before founding White + Warren 20 years ago. Her goal in starting the fashion label, as she explained to Forbes’ Tell, was to create an accessibly priced collection of coveted knitwear.
The move to reclaim cashmere comes at a time when the fashion industry is confronting unsustainable practices. As the Ellen MacArthur Foundation pointed out in a recent report calling for a new textiles economy, humanity trashes or burns enough clothing to fill a garbage truck every second. The report’s circular economy recommendations received support from global clothing brands that include H&M and Nike.
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