The last day of my internship started off with quite a hectic morning. Since it was my last day I wanted to get something for the team I had been working with so I stopped into this place called Gorilla Coffee, which is a very popular coffee shop in Brooklyn. I grabbed some pastries and then headed over to the bagel shop next door to grab my lunch for that day. After about ten minutes of walking and almost reaching the subway I realized I left my bagel at the shop. Even though I had all my heavy luggage with me, I decided to go back and get my bagel adding another 15 minutes to the time I was supposed to leave. Then once I walked all the way back to the subway stop I ran in to my one of my supervisors who was getting on the same subway. When I saw her the train approach, we both hopped on. I was pretty sure that that it was the wrong train but I assumed she knew better than me since she lives in New York. Although when the next stop came and we realized we were going the wrong way, we got off as fast as we could and had a good laugh about it.
That day at work I finished up my project that I was working on. Later at lunch some of my co-workers (other interns from Pratt Institute) were talking about going to a cool place for lunch the next week and it made me sad to realize that I was leaving and wouldn’t be able to join them. I made so many great new friends and learned so many new things through this experience, and although it was sad that I had to leave, I am glad to be back in California.
Today I continued to do more research, which I have been finding to actually be extremely difficult. I found that a lot of people don’t put up how much water we use for conventional dyeing because, well, they don’t want people to know that we are actually using tons of water. Aside from my research I went around talking to people today asking about their companies. One woman that I talked to has a line named after her, called Suzanne Rae, which is a ready to wear women’s clothing line. She describes her designs as “minimalist, progressive, and feminine in an unconventional way.” She incorporates sustainability into her designs by producing most of her designs in the U.S. so that there isn’t a lot of transporting overseas. She also makes sure that the work conditions are good by checking in herself, and she does everything she can to keep waste to a minimum. I found her designs in particular to be really beautiful but also very interesting and different from anything I have seen. It crazy to think that tomorrow is my last day! I have had such an amazing time in New York and will really miss all the great people I have met and working here at BF+DA.
Today I did more research for my projects. I also helped set up for an event with a presenter who talked all about ways to do natural dyeing. After there was a workshop where everyone got the chance to try the dyeing out first hand. I didn’t participate in this because it was a class you had to pay for but it was cool to see the finished products. I have also been doing something called backwinding which is a process where you take scrap materials from knits that got messed up in the machine or didn’t turn out, and you take the thread out and rewind them onto a spool. This way the material can be reused and there is no waste at all. Much of my time here I have also spent stacking and unstacking chairs, cleaning out the storage room, and setting up for events, which isn’t very interesting, but besides that I have been enjoying my time here.
Recently I have been working on a new mini project where I am writing a short article for the 10 Wears 1 Wash Campaign. This campaign is a way of encouraging others to use less water by washing their jeans after 10 wears as opposed to every 2 or 3. It is a simple way to get people to reduce their water usage and can be an overall benefit towards the environment. Many people don’t realize that over 1.1 billion people around the world do not have access to clean water, so why should we be wasting what could be other people’s clean water, on extra washes? I am writing about how much water is used to dye simple items such as a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a knit sweater. It is actually surprisingly a lot more than you would think. In one year, just through the process of dyeing fabric, the industry uses 9 trillion gallons of water. I have learned that being conscious of your water usage is crucial to living a sustainable life, and minimizing your ecological footprint. I am excited to see what else I will learn from this internship.
Day 3: Wednesday, May 20th
I am currently doing research for a small project I was assigned over here at BF+DA. As sustainable design is key, I am researching the amount of water it takes to dye simple clothing items. I am looking at things such as a pair of jeans, a sweater, and a t-shirt, to show how much water we are using through a process that is done everyday, in massive quantities. Many people may not even think about how much water we are using for this process. It is really interesting to be learning about all of this because it is opening my mind to so many things I may not have even thought about before. All of the staff here are very friendly and super open to me asking them questions. Although doing research isn’t as fun as being at an event with major corporations, I am still finding what I am learning to be very interesting.
First I would like to briefly explain where I am working and what I am doing for my internship. For these next three weeks I will be an intern at the BF+DA (Brooklyn Fashion Design Accelerator), “a new initiative launched by Pratt Institute that provides designers with the resources they need to transform their ideas into successful businesses. With over $2,000,000 in initial funding pledged by Pratt Institute, the State of New York, New York City, and the borough of Brooklyn, the BF+DA brings high-potential fashion designers, industrial designers and technologists together under one roof…The BF+DA is a hub for ethical fashion and design. The BF+DA provides its Venture Fellows and Members access to on-site business mentorship, small-run apparel production, no minimum knitting services, digital fabrication services, showroom space and retail sites. The BF+DA offers sustainable strategies consulting, materials sourcing and links to existing NYC manufacturers.”-https://bkaccelerator.com/about/ Essentially it introduces fashion design to a new sustainable way of making clothes.
My First day at BF+DA, just so happened to be the day of one of the biggest events they have ever had. Major companies including Nike, Eileen Fisher, and Patagonia had representatives come and discuss how they will be implementing sustainable design into their production. As someone who would like to go into environmental studies and has a great interest for fashion, I found that this was the perfect place for me. Although much of the day consisted of tasks like vacuuming, setting up chairs, and making coffee, it was all worth it when I got to hear about all the great things these companies will be doing to make their companies impacts less harmful on humans and our environment. I am not allowed to discuss all of the details that were said in the presentation for rights purposes, but I can say that all of the representatives talked about enforcing that the working conditions of the factories are safe, as well as conservation strategies that enable less water and less waste in the making of their products. This presentation really opened my eyes into this industry and made me realize that this could really be something I would like to pursue. This day was really exciting and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have to offer!