Where can I source fabric production waste products?

We’ve had an email from Karen which is a bit different from our normal “how can I recycle…” questions but a good question all the same:

I’m a fashion student and I am interested in doing my final project/collection using waste products! I’ve been looking for things like parachute silk with faults in (apparently over half of what they produce is waste because it has to be SO perfect!) and anything else along those lines. I’m not so interested in taking old things and making them into something new, for me it’s more about using the waste products of production.

However I’ve been really struggling to find any, do you know where I might be able to find some? I have loads of great ideas and I promise to share what I do with you :)

The first thing that comes to mind is something that I’m sure has already occurred to Karen – to contact relevant factories. While obviously a lot of manufacturing has moved offshore these days, there are still a fair few specialist factories around – or people that take offshore-made fabric and turn it into something else (for example, I can’t find it now but someone contacted me a while ago about recycling leather/pleather offcuts from making motorbike seats).

Scrap stores may be able to help too – they often work with local industry/businesses to take unwanted materials for crafty reuse/recycling and depending on the area/their links, that might include production seconds/thirds and offcuts etc.

Any other suggestions? Any specific places? I’ll contact Karen to see whereabouts she is in the country in case that makes a difference. (UPDATE: she’s replied to say: “I’m down in Brighton, so anything kinda south coast/Sussex way would be useful :)”)

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3 Responses to “Where can I source fabric production waste products?”

  1. Alice says:

    There’s a place in Leeds called SCRAP which collects waste for creative reuse.

    Their website is here http://scrapstuff.co.uk/ – might be worth contacting them to see if they know of other projects around the country, or can help with ideas for who to contact near where you are.

  2. Bill says:

    Hi, since I was a student I ‘ve had a healthy interest in ex-military cast-offs . If its parachute material you’re interesting in, this might help you.


    One time I found a lot of good off-cuts in a Sail makers skip. I think that was in Norfolk.

    And that reminds me of some outdoor fabric retailers I’ve used in the past,
    http://www.profabrics.co.uk/ AKA Point North.

    good luck,

  3. Simon Soper says:

    Karen will unfortunately not be able to find any, as parachutes are no longer made of silk. They’re made from ripstop nylon and modern production techniques mean that there is very little wastage. Her best bet for scraps like this would be from parachute manufacturers. There are 2 in the UK, Thomas Sports Equipment and Airborne Systems, or plenty in Europe, a quick blast on a search engine will be able to throw up plenty of results for skydiving and base equipment manufacturers.

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