FABSCRAP Partners With URBN and Nordstrom, Eyes West Coast Expansion
Promoting its mission to combat fabric waste, the textile recycling and reuse nonprofit FABSCRAP announced that it has secured partnerships with Philadelphia’s URBN and Seattle-headquartered Nordstrom, which includes major investments by the retailers. Initiatives include expanding from the New York City area and upgrading the company’s digital infrastructure. FABSCRAP’s efforts include fabric sorting and redistribution of textile waste to divert these materials away from the landfill.
“This is such a great case study of an industry how an industry can self-correct, and we’re doing this in Philadelphia first, but it would be great to see a brand with headquarters in L.A. take on the same leadership,” said FABSCRAP founder and Chief Executive Officer Jessica Schreiber. “We’re excited to see how the industry is investing in its own future in this way.”
The New York City–based FABSCRAP, which is led by Schreiber and co-founder and Creative Director Camille Tagle, has worked under the limitations of serving only the metropolis’s five boroughs and parts of New Jersey with its textile-waste pickup from participating businesses, then fabric sorting and resale and upcycling operations, yet demand has been growing from other areas.
“We have done a lot of reflecting on the work we did early on to make FABSCRAP happen—carrying fabric up and down walkups and through the subways,” Tagle said. “To be at this moment now, with two very large brands choosing to take action and put their weight, support, and investment behind our mission, is incredible. It is very hopeful.”
URBN will contribute to a FABSCRAP expansion into the City of Brotherly Love with an on-site location that will serve the United States’ mid-Atlantic region, which includes Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
“What’s important about URBN taking this leadership it that high tides raise all ships. This expands service for all of the industry for the area,” Schreiber said. “Because we have plans to expand to the West Coast, this feels like an ideal way to learn what that could looks like, working in multiple locations and how different regions vary in their service needs and the fabric we receive.”
For its part, Nordstrom chose FABSCRAP as a grant recipient to support the Philadelphia expansion. A fund-raising event on the retailer’s website April 19–30 encouraged shoppers to donate to the FABSCRAP mission. Nordstrom is also contributing to the development of a customer-relationship-management database that will serve as an upgrade for brands that contribute to FABSCRAP and the organization’s administrators.
“Now, a brand could log into their online profile and, in real time, see their diversion metrics, see what that diversion means in terms of CO2 savings, or equivalent trees planted, and see the percentage of their material that is being reused versus recycled,” Schreiber said.
While many of FABSCRAP’s customers are fashion professionals, the organization does seek to educate outside the boundaries of the industry by organizing presentations at schools such as Philadelphia’s Drexel University and Thomas Jefferson University. Through FABSCRAP’s daily work, its volunteers engage with fabrics and learn about the textiles.
“Maybe they are not a company or entrepreneur. Maybe they are a home sewer who identifies with our mission,” Tagle explained. “Anyone can volunteer with us, and we give free fabric as a thank-you for their time. Here, they can experience the textile waste issue firsthand because they are sorting through it.”