The soft and inviting feel of upholstery fabrics makes them perfect for relaxing and unwinding after a long day! We all know that their beautiful hues and textures can elevate any room and bring life to a dull space!
How would it feel knowing that so much of this luxurious fabric also gets wasted each year even before it reaches the consumer? The challenge lies in the various production steps involved right from processing the raw materials to the last steps of making those relaxing sofa covers or headboards, with each step resulting in some waste.
So what are some of the most common textile waste that happens at these production steps? This article focuses on upholstery fabric, but these reasons are common for any other type of textiles too.
1) Waste can occur in the manufacturing of raw materials such as spinning fibers, weaving process, dyeing and finishing process. There are always some left overs and unused materials which get thrown.
2) The next step of actually cutting and sewing the fabric involves a good deal of waste. Fabric remnants, irregular pieces, trimmings are a natural part of the cutting and sewing process and result in waste.
3) Some waste can also be generated if the fabric doesn’t pass through the quality control process. It could be the quality of the weave or just the correct color of the dye. This can be a huge waste problem if the whole batch was low quality and had to be discarded. Thanks to the improved technology that quality issues can be caught at relatively earlier stages, thus minimizing big piles of wastes. But it’s still hard to avoid them altogether.
4) The all time problem of demand and supply. If the actual demand from customers was lower than the predicted demand, there will be excess fabric lying around. Corporates face this dilemma - to produce more and have risk of excess inventory or produce less but then not be able to meet demand from all customers, thereby leaving money at the table. Some companies try to sell them at discounted prices, while some prefer discarding them for multiple reasons (that's another topic of discussion)
5) Finally, what if the style or trend changed and a big lot of the inventory will be lying unsold and eventually gets discarded.
These are some real issues which can create a lot of textile waste, piling up our landfills.
Our Everyday Upholstery bag collection tries to rescue some of these beautiful upholstery fabrics by creating tote bags which are as simple and relaxing to use as the feel of the fabric itself. They come in different colors and textures and have been very popular with our customers.
Valerie, the maker behind these bags, lives on the island of Mauritius in Africa. She is very passionate about designing and making handbags and works with local furniture/upholstery stores to source the excess upholstery fabric which was otherwise considered waste.
Did you know that hundreds of gallons of water is required to make different types of fabrics. By buying something made from upcycled fabric, you make a huge difference in saving water, energy and resources!