On August 1, 2023, Deborah and Glenn, lead artists of DOEprojekts Art Collaborative, received the following email from the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, who forwarded it from Eliza at www.ooloop.co, an online company that offers recycled, organic clothing.
“500 Dumped Cashmere Sweaters Available for Artists”
I [Eliza] have rescued several hundred brand new black cashmere sweaters from the landfill, and would love to find some artists to upcycle them into art. The story goes, a scotch company bought the sweaters wholesale from [a prominent clothing company], however didn’t get their preapproval on a small logo they embroidered, so the [prominent clothing company] ordered the scotch company’s 500 sweaters to be destroyed; they wouldn’t even allow them to be donated.
The scotch company reached out to me because I founded a website for sustainably made clothing called OOLOOP.co (which actually started out as an art project), and we sell recycled cashmere. So I offered to take them and try to find artists that would elevate and transform them.”
After a brief application process, DOEprojekts was chosen to receive 22 sweaters by the end of August for “artistic upcycling.”
In September, our diligent research on how to best transform the sweaters began. After finding “Cashmere Revolution” on Etsy and looking through a number of different configurations of their cashmere patches, we chose a multi-color striped patch that would colorfully embody both vertical and horizontal lines, two of our five Coreforms.
The patches arrived in late September, beautifully cut to our specifications, easy to permanently apply with a household iron. Thus, we were able to cover the logo of the scotch company and transform the sweaters.
We donated individual sweaters to out-of-town not-for-profit organizations, but the bulk of the 22 sweaters went to the Winter Clothing Closet (WCC) at Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries in Hell’s Kitchen Manhattan, NYC. Kathleen “Kathy” Conry, one of the regular volunteers at the WCC, agreed to pose with a selection of the sweaters. She told us that these would “fly off the shelf” when patrons of the WCC would arrive each Monday from November 2023 to March 2024.
Kathy asked to take a photo of Deborah holding up one of the upcycled 100% cashmere sweaters – all of them were sized “Medium” and could be worn by any gender.
Before the first Winter Clothing Closet opened to patrons on Monday, November 6, Deborah took photos of the tables with upcycled/donated clothing. Have you ever purchased Bombas-brand socks? Bombas promises to donate one pair of socks for each pair of socks purchased.
The Winter Clothing Closet is where some of your one-donated-for-one-purchased Bombas socks are delivered in a variety of sizes! DOEprojekts Art Collaborative wishes you a warm and creative winter – please consider artistic upcycling of your gently used clothing! Keep in touch with us through DOEprojekts@gmail.com.