On the heels of the People’s Climate March in New York, independent and globally-conscious fashion designer and my friend, Daniel Silverstein, is about to launch his new collection, ‘The Piece Project.’ What does this mean and what should we, as consumers, know about Daniel and his mission? You will be touched …
MKG: Daniel, you have always been an innovator when it comes to fashion design. Walk me through your thought-process in creating ‘The Piece Project.’
DS: The ‘Piece Project’ was born out of the idea to take zero waste to the next level. I wanted to challenge myself to create beautiful, wearable, meaningful designs out of pieces of fabric from my studio that, typically, a manufacturer would consider not large enough with which to do anything.
MKG: What a terrific name! What does ‘The Piece Project’ mean to you?
DS: This name encompasses the concept perfectly. I look at this endeavor as a project; a challenge and a way of thinking for now. I can’t wait to see how it influences my next collection, and I am so excited to use all the pieces of fabric, here in my studio, and start next season with a fresh slate.
MKG: How have you been tested as a designer by this challenge, to start first with fabric?
DS: One of the biggest challenges is to make sure the collection looks sleek, modern, and well, my style. I want to avoid anything too crafty or patch-worked. I think the beauty is creating something that looks like a choice, and not leftovers. I love to take on the seemingly impossible.
As designers, we are all taught to think conventionally about design and consumption: how much you need in order to produce, what kinds of fabrics can be combined, and how things ‘should’ be made. This often affects our belief that we can create beauty within these limitations, that having only 20 inches of fabric does not seem like enough to make a dress. Being forced to creatively combine materials in order to literally, make ends meet, is the name of the game.
MKG: What exactly will happen on October 1st?
DS: I will be releasing designs from ‘The Piece Project’ in small stories. On Wednesday, October 1st, the first 3 pieces from the collection will be available to buy both in my studio and on my website. The pieces will be accompanied by a stunning editorial about zero waste living in NYC, featuring Lauren Singer, creator of Trash is for Tossers, and photographed by Maeghan Donohue. I hope the editorial will show women everywhere that they can have strong ethics about consumption and production, without having to sacrifice style – just like Lauren. New designs will be released through October. To be the first to know when new items are released from ‘The Piece Project,’ you can sign up for our mailing list.
MKG: What should we, as consumers, understand about zero waste and why it matters?
DS: I want to prove that we don’t need to be so wasteful. Consumers can still have amazing designs and use modern materials, but we don’t have to be so wasteful in the process. The big idea behind zero waste is that nothing ever really goes away. So when you throw things away, they may be out of sight, but where will they go?
Many of our modern miracles like synthetic fibers, high performance textiles and plastics, won’t break down, and will be on Earth forever. I am not suggesting that we stop using them, or making them. I am simply approaching the consumption of them from a different perspective. I start with the end goal: leave nothing un-used. I design with that in mind. This way, if my designs utilize these incredible materials, I don’t have to throw pieces of them away.
On the average, every year over 13 million tons of textiles end up in landfills in the USA. The fashion industry is a leading contributor to that statistic. This is why ‘The Piece Project’ is so important to me. I have created many seasons of zero waste designs, but I still have had leftovers. The 20 inches of fabric left on a roll after we cut out our production, a bolt of something I have been meaning to use for years now, or an extra yard of fabric from a sample that never got made, are all my things that will never go away. Through ‘The Piece Project,’ I want to turn them into useful designs that you will want to keep in your wardrobe forever. ~ Daniel Silverstein