Toronto startup makes clothing out of diverted waste
Textile waste is a huge problem globally, and unfortunately, Canadians are responsible for their fair share of wasted clothing and fabric.
More than 12 million tonnes of textile are dumped into North American landfills per year—Ontario alone generates around a whopping 500,000 tonnes annually—which is why many Torontonians are choosing to donate and buy from thrift stores instead of fast fashion brands.
As waste-free designers slowly rise to the forefront of the fashion industry, a Toronto-based brand is making waves by turning old textiles into new kids' clothes.
Nudnik is an independent Toronto brand by Lindsay and Alexandra Lorusso, twin sisters who have worked in the waste management industry for years.
Their brand's main product is the Negative Waste + Positive Impact t-shirts ($25 each), which offers kids' tees made from cutting waste: the unused stuff that's left over from big fabric rolls after patterns have been cut out.
Sourcing virgin organic cotton waste and manufacturing them into non-gendered t-shirts via partners in Bangladesh, Nudnik makes patchwork tees, each with their own unique design, in fun colourways.
Both Lindsay and Alexandra have extensive landfill diversion experience since working out of their dad's company, WasteCo, which is one of the largest waste management companies in Canada.
Since its inception in 2016, the sisters have experimented with using Canadian textile waste (like end-of-roll fabric from local designers), but couldn't find enough consistent textile waste here.
After working with acceleration programs like the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation with Ryerson, and Next Founders summer program, the sisters decided on using materials from overseas.
According to to Lindsay, 98 per cent of Canada's used clothing is exported overseas. "We wanted to tackle textile waste where most of it is being produced."
Since the company's inception in 2016, Lindsay says Nudnik has diverted nearly three tonnes of textile waste from the landfill.
It's all kids' tees for now, but Nudnik is slated to release a collection for adults this fall.
"Ultimately our future goal is to make a lot of products for the millenial family out of various waste material."
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