The Magpies & Peacocks Resource Library is in direct partnership with our friends at AER Textiles. It is designed to offer post consumer textiles – donated material including clothing, fabrics, samples, bolt ends, jewelry and accessories – as raw materials to students and educators, as a primary resource for sustainable re-design and circular education in Houston. We collect from businesses, individuals, the fashion and interior industry, as well as from costume designers, retailers, and garment manufacturers, as a way to close the wasteful gap on the current manufacturing cycle. We do this to divert waste from landfill, educate consumers on fashion consumption and extend the useful life of post consumer material. Magpies & Peacocks intends to position Houston as a potential leader in sustainability, waste innovation and re-use, whilst boosting arts education and the creative economy.
Anyone in the Interior Design world knows of the large quantity of material and fabric wastage there is in soft furnishings. From the seasonal changes in fabric books, swatches and samples, to leftover upholstery and drapery, the industry is always driving forward with new products and fresh ideas. This is great for the design world but not great for the planet. Thousands of samples and bolt ends wind up in landfill just because there isn't a good method for them to be re-used. We can change that by offering a place for those materials to collect as a resource and inviting arts and business innovators to collaborate on incorporating their re-use.
Fashion is the number two polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry, and we currently only re-cycle, or re-sell, around 15% of what we wear and dispose of. So there is plenty of room for improvement there! A large quantity of our used clothing gets sold as bales and shipped out to developing countries – this diverts from our domestic landfill, but is not a solution to our problem – nor is it helpful to their economies! 85% of what we discard can be re-used, re-purposed, re-designed or up-cycled, there just needs to be system in place to facilitate that. The first step is for us to divert, collect and curate material specifically for that purpose.
Fashion jewelry, as with all fast fashion, is now a disposable commodity: cheaply made, poor quality, easily tarnished, and with limited re-use. Broken, parted or orphaned jewelry hasn't much resale value and heirloom quality or sentimental/gift pieces sit unworn, out of style and unseen. But all of these pieces are rich in resources – loose stones, base metals, beads, glass, wood, even the 'findings and hardware' pieces that are used to connect and secure them, have value. Creating new pieces from old – 'ReHeirlooming' as we refer to it, honors the memory of a valued piece, and repairing or working less valuable pieces gives them new life.