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 not use all of the fabric and have some leftover. The same can be true in the textile mills. Maybe the entirety of the bolt wasn’t bought or the designer it was made for doesn’t end up wanting it. The people who buy deadstock fabric are often called jobbers. There’s a great article by Fashion Incubator about jobbers here.
RevivALL buys fabric mostly from Ragfinders in Los Angeles. Rubin started the company 35 years ago, selling leftover fabrics 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 and if you want a better idea of the enormity of the industry, check out my tour from January 2020.
So, why is using deadstock so important? The textile industry is the second largest pollutant of the 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 first hand the amount of waste that was produced. I’d take the trash out and find dumpsters full of fabric. It was then and there that I committed to using only remnant fabric. If more designers used fabrics that were already made instead of creating demand for more fabrics to be produced, we could significantly change these statistics. It’s kind of like buying clothes second hand instead of brand new. If you watch the video of my Ragfinders tour, you’ll be amazed at how much fabric is sitting there, waiting to be used.