Art and Fashion Combine in This Sustainable Art Class

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

By Sierra Petro


A student shows Professor Polak a piece of fabric. (Photo by Sierra Petro)

Students dug through boxes of fabric scraps in an 8:30 a.m. art class today, occasionally finding a colorful floral piece or nearly wearable pair of jeans. The sorting served as volunteer work for the fabric recycling and reuse resource, FabScrap, and as a resource for the class' upcoming mending project.


Those in the Make, Mix, Move class were the first students to volunteer for the fabric recycling and reuse resource outside of its Brooklyn facility. The resource gets fabric in scraps or yards that brands don't have enough of to keep producing garments. Some of its partners include the brands Eileen Fischer and Express.


Sorted fabric can be reused by volunteers, which is why it's popular with fashion students who may only need a small amount of fabric. Sorted fabric that is a mix of different materials (not including spandex) can be shredded and used for things like insulation and furniture stuffing.

Shredded mixed fabric. (Photo by Sierra Petro)

Professor Janine Polak has volunteered at FabScrap before. She picked up the mystery boxes from the facility and told her students to set aside any fabrics they will use for their radical mending projects, which can be done two different ways. Students can use the fabric to fix an item, like a plastic bag with a hole in it or a stained shirt, or they can create a new work of art.


Scroll through the images below to see the in-class sorting.

The Print will be posting a follow-up to this story next week after students present their radical mending projects.