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Students learn to mend clothes and the planet » Yale Climate Connections


An after-school program in San Francisco gets teenagers excited about giving old clothes new life.

Grant: “And what we’re hoping to kind of do is empower them to think about how, not just how they can make their own clothes, but how they can go to Goodwill and understand what a nice material is, or something that’s a good cut or a nice pattern. And maybe it’s not in the shape or form that they want it to be now, but we’re giving them the skills to mend it, repair it, dye it.”

Danielle Grant is with SCRAP. The nonprofit runs a sustainable fashion design after-school program in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.

She says the fashion industry has a big environmental impact. Producing cotton uses a huge amount of water. Polyester is made from petroleum. And manufacturing, packaging, and transporting clothes around the world emits a lot of carbon pollution.

Buying fewer new garments can help reduce the harm.

Grant: “What we’re trying to really do is just contribute long-term to a culture of repair.”

So when young people want to spruce up their wardrobe, instead of heading to the mall, they can stop by the thrift store or open their own closet, armed with needle and thread.

Reporting Credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media





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