Our Social Fabric is a non-profit Vancouver group that helps divert excess fabric from manufacturers, the movie industry, and more. Through monthly sales, we keep textiles out of the landfill and into the hands of creatives in our community. In 2017, OSF diverted ALMOST 10 TONS (19,523 lbs) of textiles from the landfill (this is an increase of 37.5% from 2016!)
For the past 2.5 years, we have been located in the Russell building on the corner of Venables and Clark in the City of Vancouver, BC. In May, 2018, we moved from the third floor to Suite #270 on the second floor – a larger, brighter space with plenty of room for customers, workshops and volunteers.
Our Shop space is bursting with fabulous fabrics which have been diverted and rescued from the landfill. Most are high quality sample fabrics donated directly to us from the film industry, factories, and production facilities. Much of the fabric is still on the bolt and unused. We have a wide variety of natural knits, cottons, linens, polyester blends, and technical fabrics from a wide range of places like KenDor Textiles and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC).
Fabric sales are staffed by volunteers, and proceeds go to maintaining the space and helping us to build awareness around issues related to the textile industry. We are also in our second year of sponsorship for the "Wilson School of Design and Our Social Fabric Zero Waste Design Competition" at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Each year OSF donates $5,000 to the top three winners of the competition.
We want to be a part of a larger community of people who use textiles for creative means. We continue to explore ways to share diverting and recycling practices and to be part of the larger solution to textile waste.
Textiles are one the most common household items and represent a staggering proportion of the solid wastestream: approximately 16kg per person, or a total of 33,600 tonnes in Metro Vancouver in 2006, to give you an idea.
Despite the volume of this waste, few options exist to reuse or recycle salvageable textile items – and next to none for those items that cannot be resold. As a result, these textiles end their still-functional lives in the landfill or waste-to-energy incinerator.
Our Social Fabric believes that this unnecessary waste can not only be avoided, but channeled to create positive change in Vancouver. Aside from the obvious benefits of reducing waste diverted to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities, textile recycling provides local creatives with the raw materials to produce clothing, crafts, and more. OSF recently participated in the creation of a white paper: Unravelling the Problem of Apparel Waste in the Greater Vancouver Area.
We invite Metro Vancouver residents to get involved by attending our bi-monthly fabric sales, donating high-quality fabric to our inventory, or volunteering with us. You can help the environment and help support creativity in our community!