Deadstock fabric is simply leftover fabric. It's the extra fabric that textile mills create and/or don't sell. It's the remnants from larger design houses that don't get used. It's the fabric that was possibility made in error - wrong color, size, or quantity. We use deadstock fabric sourced from textile shops in and around Los Angeles. Using deadstock fabric is one way we are creating small batch and sustainable collections, but it does come with a few challenges I'd like to point out.
Sourcing deadstock fabric is more time consuming and expensive. For instance, our Treanna Dress in Emerald is made from deadstock cotton Lyrca® leftover from a larger design house that we purchased from Mood Fabrics. There was only 5 yards of fabric left and we'll only be able to create about 5 dresses including our sample. We found more deadstock fabrics to create the Treanna Dress in black and ruby. It takes a lot of time to find the fabric to create a handful of dresses. From our experience, sourcing deadstock fabric is also more expensive. The textile wholesaler or middleman buys the fabric from a textile mill or design house and marks it up to make a profit. The extra time and special fabrics we find may take a little longer and cost a bit more, but it makes each piece a little more special knowing those pieces are very limited edition.
While I think using leftover fabric is a sustainable way to source fabric (especially as an emerging designer), I am cautious of green-washing our design process. I see a lot sustainable brands claiming that by using deadstock fabric they're saving the earth or rescuing leftover fabrics from the landfill. In truth, there has been a large secondary market for deadstock fabrics prior to sustainable brands using these leftover textiles. From costume and specialty designers to small batch and sustainable designers like myself, using deadstock fabric allows designers to create their designs without having to buy large quantities of fabric. Sourcing deadstock fabric is only one way we are working towards a sustainable design process.
Click here to read about the other ways we're creating sustainable clothes.