Deadstock fabric is the leftovers or remnants from textile mills and garment
manufacturers. Say, for instance, that a big clothing company makes a run of shirts.
They may only use some of the fabric, and other brands can purchase leftovers, or they
end up in the landfill. The same can be true in the textile mills. Maybe a brand didn’t
buy the entirety of the bolt, or the designer it was made for changed their. The people
who buy deadstock fabric are often called jobbers. There’s a great article by Fashion
Incubator about jobbers here.
So, why is using deadstock so important? The textile industry is the second largest
pollutant on Earth, behind oil. According to Business Insider, the fashion industry is the
second largest consumer of water, and 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year.
When I worked in the fashion industry in New York City, I saw firsthand the amount of
waste produced by brands. I’d take the trash out and find dumpsters full of fabric. It was
then and there that I committed to using only remnant materials. If more designers
reused previously created fabrics instead of making new ones for every design, these
statistics would change significantly. It’s kind of like buying clothes second-hand instead
of brand-new. If you watch the video of my Ragfinders tour linked below, you’ll be
amazed at how much fabric sits there, waiting for a new purpose.
Revivall buys fabric mostly from Ragfinders in Los Angeles. Rubin started the company
35 years ago, selling leftover material out of the back of his trunk. He saw a need and
grew the business to a massive warehouse filled floor to ceiling with a maze of incredible
fabrics. Going to visit has always been a highlight of my year; if you want a better idea of
the enormity of the industry, check out my tour from January 2020.