Who would want your old t-shirt? Believe it or not, we do! At Rethreaded, we see opportunity in things that others have discarded. Rethreaded is an upcycled t-shirt company based locally in Jacksonville Florida. “The environmental benefits gained from using recycled raw materials rather than virgin materials to make these products include conservation of natural resources as well as reduced energy consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions, and waste going to landfills,” according to TextileWorld.com. Other research shows that 5% of the earth’s material waste is textiles. That’s 5% of the earth’s total waste that can be repurposed instead of wasted! By using upcycled t-shirts to make our new products, we are breaking the cycle of excess waste and repurposing these textiles to become something new and beautiful. Take, for instance, the t-shirt scarf pictured above. What used to be someone’s old discarded t-shirt is now a beautiful, stylish new product.
Not only does Rethreaded break the cycle of waste in textile materials, but we are also breaking the cycle of the sex trade locally and globally. A study done in California showed that 92% of women in prostitution wanted to leave the trade, but couldn’t because they lacked basic human services such as a home, job training, health care, counseling and treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Women want to leave the cycle of the sex trade but often don’t have the resources or training to do so. Rethreaded exists to provide the resources to break the cycle by offering job training and a work environment that allows women to leave the sex trade. With a supportive work environment and above minimum wage page, these women will be empowered to live sustainable lives on their own. Just as textiles can be repurposed and used to sew something new, so the women who work at rethreaded will find a new purpose for their lives as they sew a new story of their own.
On November 5th, Rethreaded hired the first three employees who have chosen to break the cycle for themselves and help others do the same. These women are excited to start their new story and be involved in fighting the sex trade locally and globally. When asked how they saw themselves fitting in at Rethreaded, they all said, “I have a story.” The new employees will be sewing t-shirt scarves and creating a children’s line of clothing. After three months of training in the areas of life skills, art, and sewing, these women will be sewing upcycled t-shirt products full time.