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    Textile Technology

    Sewing Labs welcome international textile recycler

    Jun 22, 2022


    The Sewing Labs of Kansas City, a nonprofit teaching the legacy of sewing for employment, entrepreneurship, and enrichment, is welcoming internationally known upcycler Francisca Gajardo of Iquique, Chile this month.  Gajardo travels the world to explore sustainable fashion and educate others. Through her Instagram account  and her workshops, Gajardo has inspired a whole community of designers to adopt a sustainable approach to fashion.

    Through the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, Gajardo has been awarded a four-week fellowship in Kansas City. As part of the enrichment she brings, she is offering workshops in the specific type of upcycling her community calls “Suprareciclaje.” The first, Experimental Recycling Workshop, a two-part class on Thursdays, June 16, and June 23, is a practicum on repurposing disused garments. Two separate workshops follow, Scrappy Explorations on June 28 and Simple Garment Reconstruction on June 30.

    “The program matches you with a host organization that aligns with your vision, your philosophy and your work,” Gajardo said. “So basically, I teach people how to recycle garments and here in The Sewing Labs, they train people in sewing to find jobs and to empower themselves through sewing and stuff like that. Basically similar to what I do, but with recycling.” By using a variety of textile interventions, the garments she produces and helps her students to make are whimsical, unusual and individual, and all bear the stamp of an indelible principle to “use what is there before you.”

    Gajardo is working with the Climate Council on a documentary about the landfills in her hometown and how they link to North American consumerism. She’ll also work with Restoration School to do upcycling workshops for kids and an intergenerational co-design project, where they’re going to find fashion designers that would like to volunteer to help elderly people who have a wardrobe that they would like to upcycle but face barriers.

    Gajardo taught in London during the London Design Festival last year, in Norway, Spain, and in Santiago whenever she makes it home.
    Thinking of sustainable fashion in another decade, she hopes she can get funding to develop a project on zero waste reconstruction. “I would like to train the big brands – because I know that it’s not just about pointing the finger and saying to them, ‘You’re doing it wrong.’ That doesn’t work. You need to work with them and find a solution for them – I have a solution that I’ve been putting in the oven for a few years. I just need to find the funds,” Gajardo said.

    “My goal is to develop that project, turn it into a software, and train brands to do that,” Gajardo said. “So as many brands can start recycling there, there’s dead stock… They don’t take away from major natural resources. I’m planning to do travels around the world to find the roots of second hand clothes around the world, as well as the origin of clothes. So I’m planning some journeys around India, around South America, to try and to build this documentary series on the impact of fashioning communities.” Gajardo is aware of brands like H&M, who have a conscious line, but say it’s trying to do something really bad in a slightly less bad way. “The real sustainability is for no one to make clothes,” Gajardo said. “That’s the most radic do for environment, and not just clothes, but artifacts, furniture, goods, electronics, everything. If you really want to save the planet, you need to stop.”

    “For me, the solution would be to close H&M. No more H&M,” Gajardo said. “But then what happens with the communities that they’re giving jobs to, even though they’re not paying them good? They’re practically enslaving them. There are women across the world that need this to survive. It’s not that it’s as easy as to do what I’m saying, but personally, I don’t respect their conscious fashion, I think it is a joke.”

    For Gajardo, visiting a landfill was like being at the end of the world. She’s been visiting street markets since she was a kid, and going to big warehouses with clothes hanging everywhere, piling up on the floor, and it always made her wonder, “Why do we keep making clothes?”

    “I studied fashion and they trained us to do fashion in retail,” Gajardo said. “You’re not even like a fashion designer. You cannot create any good ideas that you have, it has to go through the engineers and the numbers. So basically you copy whatever comes from Europe, there’s no creative freedom.”Knowing many people in her country are poor, she felt it dishonest to invent necessities and tell them to buy them just to feel accepted.

    Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and posted by third party therefore textielmarket.in is not responsible for any errors in the same.



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