Carcass Processing; A Study in Upcycling Economics

Okay, I've decided to trace the life cycle of some of my upcycling materials. I'm experimenting with the goal of using absolutely every single part of the secondhand clothes. Maybe it's OCD, maybe I care deeply about the earth, maybe I'm askeert my child will be wading ass-deep through garbage all over the world because we insist on plowing through so much *NEW* stuff.

I'm guilty of a good amount of this plowing through new stuff, but I'm trying more and more to either take rests from it, and even go backward, as with re-using old forsaken things to create newly loved things. I am also very interested in the economics of all of this.

Now, stay with me, for here is a brief narrative about what happened to but one of the sweatshirts that are to be featured in my experiment:

Once upon a time, a girl named Michelle strode into the local Land's End. In this retail outlet, she selected a $38.00 shirt for her dad, Carl. This shirt, a gray and green striped rugby shirt, led a life of celebrity and exposure during it's time with Carl. He wore it often and never stained it. (Thank you, Carl. You are a fastidious man.)

Eventually though, Carl got new shirts (bad Carl!) and this fine garment found itself with increasing frequency at the bottom of the bottom drawer. Until Carl's wife, Janice, took it to goodwill in a thinly-veiled act of ecological repentance for all the terrible spending she had done to punish Carl for his affair with Wanda. (We'll get to that whore Wanda another time.)

It was at this SAME GOODWILL that I, Lisa Solar, harvested the shirt and dropped it into a basket with fourteen other abandoned shirts. It's value had dropped, apparently, to 90 cents.

Now, here it is. The great news is that it is about a yard and a half of soft, perfectly worn, high quality fabric without any blemishes or pills. Bad news is that I'ma 'bout to go upstairs to the loft and gut that bugger like a giant fish and violently separate it from it's collar and side seams. I will use every scrap except the collar and create from the pieces no less than 8 baby cravats, 2 hats and add a few pieces to my Future Quilt bin. So, if I were to theoretically sell these items, the value of Fat, Cheating Carl's shirt has gone up to $184.00! And it has kept at least 7 babies warm (this number allowing for one double-headed baby).

Ultimately, this rugby shirt has experienced much more than a physical transformation. Yes! It has symbolically risen from the sinful ashes of Carl's affair with Wanda and has been reincarnated as any number of cozy, loving little baby things, that both literally and symbolically bring warmth to the world.

Thank You, Michelle, and I'm sorry for saying that about your new Stepmom Wanda.

And so, let's look at this visually. Here's the beginning of my effort to document the life-cycle of 15 sweatshirts. Note: this will be most interesting if you can rap the captions.

Stepz One: Put your sweaters in the cart... Stepz 2: You gotta pay fo' yo' cart... Stepz 3: You gotta wash the thrift stank out yo' thrifts.

Break it down, break it down one tiiiiyme...(cut off the trims)

"Abercrombie and Fitch" logoz a bitch, cut it up two tiiiiiiymes (remove and collects seams, etc.)

Admire your lovely new stack of fabric and if you are so moved, pat it with satisfaction in an almost perverse style.

There you have Phase One.

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