If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, then a warehouse in Queens was once a veritable El Dorado for New York’s budding fashion designers. Every week, handfuls of students used to trek from Manhattan to Jamaica to spend hours sorting through mountains of fabric scraps thrown out by labels like Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Eileen Fisher, Mara Hoffman, Nautica, and Esprit. Call it thrifting on steroids. On a Thursday afternoon in April, Jessica Schreiber, the 29-year-old founder of the fashion recycling nonprofit FabScrap , ducked behind an eight-foot-tall stack of black garbage bags. “Careful,” she warned, nearly knocking over a second pile. FabScrap works with 135 labels across the city, collecting and recycling their textile waste. This means everything from fabric swatches to actual items of clothing — the week before my visit, Schreiber found 200 socks. (Singles, not pairs.) Earlier this year, it was a bag full of neckties. “All of my husband’s neckties now come from that bag,” she said. FabScrap’s former space in a Queens warehouse. FabScrap Schreiber used to run the fashion recycling program at NYC’s Department of Sanitation. The program put large donation bins inside the basements and laundry rooms of […]

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