American Textile Recycling Services Hosts Open House

The American Textile Recycling Services is America’s fastest growing textile recycling companies, with over 179 million pounds of textiles that have been recycled so far. Not long ago, they held their first open house in their newly renovated (in partnership with Steelcase) 80,000 square foot warehouse and headquarters and this blogger was in attendance. The event hosted city officials, property management reps and media to not only tour the facilities; but also partake in a delicious lunch from Coreanos Food Truck (their OG Burrito- ‘vegetarian style’ was pretty amazing) and some dessert from Crave Cupcakes. The event also included a pop-up upcycled fashion installation styled by Los Angeles stylist- Lehang Pedersen. Lehang was asked to fly in and style a number of looks based from clothing found in the massive piles that were being sorted and graded. “It was my dream job…This is a big, big closet. In the beginning, it can be overwhelming and a little bit messy, but when you get into it, you can find the best pieces for your wardrobe… When I came, I didn’t have a plan. I just went with the flow. The first pieces I found were in perfect condition..the details were there and I thought, well this is what I what I’m going to build from. I was surprised that {not just here} when you go to recycle places, that you can find amazing vintage in perfect condition that people basically just throw out and don’t feel like they have a need for anymore. This company does what they do because they believe that everything has a second life. We reuse it, we make it into new, and mix it with old and new stuff and combine with what we have to still find your own personality and I like that’s great!” Lehang explained. The exhibit featured twenty-six looks that were very Great Gatsby and 20s-inspired. It was amazing that she was able to dig through the mounds of clothing and was able to combine vintage and modern pieces to create pretty on-point flapper-esque looks for the gals and dapper looks for the gentlemen. “I love vintage and for me to use the word ‘vintage,’ it has to be thirty years old… I don’t watch TV a lot, but when I do, it’s always Turner Classic Movies- so black and white, Old Hollywood. My favorite time is 1920 and 1930. I did not expect to get so many pieces. There are twenty-six mannequins and they are all in that story…”

We were also introduced to ATRS CEO David Peganyee, who welcomed us and introduced key execs from their charitable partners Houston Area Community Services and The Arc of Greater Houston. It was so awesome learning about all the good that ATRS is doing for not only the community, but the nation. They provide free textile recycling solutions for the public (you know, those shoe and clothing donation bins that scatter the city) and job stimulation for the local communities here and abroad. So far, ATRS has donated over $4.5 million to local charities. They have eleven branches in nine regions, including: Texas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Atlanta, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and Southern California. ATRS is committed to keeping textile waste from local landfills and promoting a greener tomorrow.

heathermarie_033's ATRS Open House album on Photobucket

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  • The fotos are fantastic, but the interview with Lehang is really amazing. What a wonderful first-hand description of her creative process as a vintage stylist, it’s really like being behind the scenes at a show. Thanks for sharing! :)

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