Aqdot
Techtextil North America

Free membership

Receive our weekly Newsletter
and set tailored daily news alerts.

Fibres/​Yarns/​Fabrics

Fashion project turns water bottles into powerful message

In Flint, the water is contaminated with lead, forcing residents to rely upon bottled water for cooking, washing and drinking.

9th April 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Greensboro, NC

Sustainable, Clothing/​Footwear

Award-winning artist Mel Chin, Unifi’s Repreve recycled performance fibre, and international fashion designer Tracy Reese have teamed up to create a fashion project called Flint Fit, which debuted yesterday at Queens Museum in New York.

In Flint, the water is contaminated with lead, forcing residents to rely upon bottled water for cooking, washing and drinking, creating a never-ending stream of empty plastic bottles. At Mel Chin’s instigation, more than 90,000 used water bottles were collected by the people of Flint over the course of six weeks. Once sorted, the bottles were sent to Unifi, a textile manufacturer in Greensboro, NC, where they were cleaned, shredded and transformed into Repreve fibre.

The collection was inspired by the power and necessity of water, manufacturing history of Flint, and resiliency of the Flint community. © Unifi

The fibre was then sent to Mount Vernon Mills and Texollini, where it was woven and knit into fabric. Using this fabric, renowned New York fashion designer and Michigan native Tracy Reese designed a capsule collection for Flint Fit inspired by the power and necessity of water, manufacturing history of Flint, and resiliency of the Flint community. Tracy has dressed celebrities that include former first lady Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift.

Tracy Reese designed a capsule collection for Flint Fit. © Unifi

“We’re proud to be a part of this exciting moment in art-fashion history,” said Jay Hertwig, Unifi’s Group Vice President Global Brand Sales. “At Unifi, we’re able to transform plastic bottles into Repreve for products that people enjoy every day, and we’re thrilled that Repreve is playing a key role in such a positive movement that came from something so catastrophic.”

Reese’s designs were brought to life by at-risk women in the commercial sewing programme at St Luke N.E.W. Life Center in Flint. © Unifi

Reese’s designs were brought to life by at-risk women in the commercial sewing programme at St Luke N.E.W. Life Center in Flint, who sewed the recycled fabric into rainwear and swim garments. These designs debuted on 8 April at the exhibition opening and will be displayed at the Queens Museum’s Watershed Gallery until 12 August.

“By opening the door for new ideas, Flint Fit aims to stimulate creative production, economic opportunity and empowerment on a local scale,” said Chin.

www.unifi.com

Latest Reports

Business intelligence for the fibre, textiles and apparel industries: technologies, innovations, markets, investments, trade policy, sourcing, strategy...

Find out more