Zero Waste Daniel is combatting the fashion industry’s waste issue one scrap at a time

This episode of Changemakers is brought to you by Toyota Crown.

Daniel Silverstein is using fabric scraps to save the future of fashion. His zero-waste fashion brand, Zero Waste Daniel (@zerowastedaniel), makes one-of-a-kind pieces made entirely out of pre-consumer fabric waste. With fast fashion running rampant, Daniel is walking the talk and proving to a wasteful industry that fashion can be zero-waste.

As a home sewer, Daniel was making projects and realized he would frequently have a lot of fabric left over. “When you’re spending $20, $30, $40, $50 a yard on fabric, you don’t wanna throw that extra stuff out,” explains the designer. Daniel then zoomed out to realize that if he’s having this problem at home, then large companies are experiencing the same thing. So, he set out to create a brand that was zero-waste, and thus Zero Waste Daniel was born.

Aside from actually making zero-waste clothes, Daniel wants to use his zero-waste brand model as evidence that it’s possible, and hopefully inspire others to follow his lead. “When I looked at the market as a consumer, you couldn’t get something zero-waste. Everybody says it’s not possible,” says the designer. “But if my brand proves that that’s possible, and that inspires someone else, then it is part of the change that needs to happen, and that’s how I wanna spend my life.”

Instead of buying fabric, Daniel makes his own by joining pieces of pre-consumer scrap fabric together in a process that the designer refers to as “ReRoll.” Daniel’s ReRoll process has helped create his signature patchwork style, which the designer sees as “bringing small, unusual shapes together using clean, geometric lines in almost a kaleidoscope fashion.”

Using scrap fabric ensures that every Zero Waste Daniel piece is totally unique. “We’re used to that factory style of production where every single thing on the rack looks exactly the same, and what Zero Waste Daniel is all about is celebrating what’s different,” says the designer. “Each scrap is its own shape, but that doesn’t mean it’s not usable.”

In addition to bringing sustainability to the fashion world, Zero Waste Daniel also wants to ensure that everybody feels comfortable in the brand’s clothes. “The number one thing that makes Zero Waste Daniel different is that it doesn’t market the idea of being inclusive, it is inclusive. We’re the real deal,” states the designer. “I really like to take the same piece and shoot it on multiple people, so you can see that you could look this way, or you could look that way. It’s not about how I see you, it’s about how you want your clothes to fit.”

As the fashion industry begins to reckon with its participation in the climate crisis, Daniel hopes to be part of a new generation of designers that are changing things for the better. “I’d like to think that the story of this brand and my life can be a turning point for the next generation,” shares Daniel. “There’s someone who did it, so that means I could do a little better. I wanna be that person for someone else.”

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