Daniel Silverstein: An Emerging Zero-waste Fashion Designer!

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Daniel Silverstein: Zero-waste apparel ‘made in’ New York!

We all love to talk about environmental pollution. ‘Wastage’ of natural resources is one of the major problems we face now. When a man wastes his time and money, he loses his own chances of survival, but when the same man wastes natural ‘resources’, he makes all of us on this planet losers.

According to Daniel Silverstein, there is a 10-15% wastage of material (fabric) in the fashion industry, over 13 million tons of fabric ending up in landfills in the States alone. He stated in one of his interviews that his employer spent $500 a month to remove the scrap from her fashion designing studio, let alone the wastage of resource and the price of the wasted material imposed on the customers. He had to walk-out of a company meeting that was discussing how to cut costs because the others did not see how much fabric the company was wasting in cutting the designs.

According to eco360, the textile industry is the second biggest polluter of clean water globally, second only to agriculture. Manufacturing cloth — dyeing, rinsing and treatment — uses large amounts of freshwater. The tons of chemical waste used in the process are released into the natural freshwater sources in addition to the 15% fabric waste from the designing studio floors ending up in landfills which pollutes the surrounding land areas. I was surprised to learn that a single T-shirt made from conventional cotton requires 2700 liters of water and a sizable amount of chemicals to produce!

Well, there have been many experts, Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillan, for example, who ‘talked about’ controlling pollution by discouraging wastage in fashion design industry and there will be many more to come, with more advanced techniques. However, here we have a young fashion designer who shows genuine concern and attempts to stick to designing ethics by minimizing wastage.

(Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillan. – Source)

Daniel Silverstein Finding A Niche:

Daniel is against having the clothes ‘made’ in other places, especially in the third world countries, where the labor and labor laws were terribly abused. He wants his clothes 100% ‘made in’ New York, giving dignified employment to the locals. Though he is a startup at the emerging stage and he hand-makes his clothes, ranging from $ 300 to $1,275 or so, he is taking a big risk by questioning the fundamentals the fashion industry’s giants practice.

Daniel Silverstein is so committed to his ideology that he opted out of New York Fashion Week 2015 because he believed that the runway samples are just for shows and too wasteful. He advises the other designers not to make clothes that are not for selling. (“ LOCAL FASHION DESIGNER PRODUCES “NO-WASTE” DESIGN; Lauren Glassberg,  February 18, 2015; Eyewitness News ABC 7NY — Source)

After graduating from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) with the highest honors, New York City, Daniel started his brand “100%NY”, a women’s apparel label, in 2010, partnering with Marge, another die-hard fan of eco-friendly apparel from FIT. With the experience he gained working at top designer brands like 3.1 Philip Lim, Calvin Klein Collection, Elie Tahari, etc.,and backed by the inspiration gained touring India, he produced designs that caught the media attention. Soon ‘100%NY’ got noticed by Vogue Italia, the council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA); and Refinery29, an American fashion, style and beauty website. Recently Daniel relaunched his brand under his own name: Daniel Silverstein.

By taking up zero waste slogan, which just a few designers have dared to consider, Daniel has found a profitable niche for himself.

Daniel has had his designs appreciated by Amber Valletta of Master & Muse, the premier online store that links between sophisticated fashion and responsible production. He was one of the ‘newcomer’ designers who produce at least 75% of their labels in the USA, standing in par with the established brands such as Oscar de la Renta, Anna Sui, Monique Lhuilier, etc., organized together with ‘Fashioned in America’ (2014) at Ellman Fashion Design Gallery. (on Ornament website — Source)

Connie Wang of Refinery29 included Daniel Silverstein in her photo slideshow article “The 8 New Designers We’re Betting On In 2015”, on MSN News 10/01/2015, saying that Daniel clothes are for creatives and they (clothes) feel good to wear. (Source)

Melissa in her “The Pin and The Message for 2015” on ‘Turning Fashion Inside Out’ wrote that Daniel Silverstein is 100% committed to creating beautiful clothing with zero waste technology. (Source)

The Turning Point:

Things started moving faster for Daniel when his show on season 2 of NBC reality competition, Fashion Star (2013), caught the eye of the buyers and the audience alike. He reached the finale, winning a brand new Fiat, and selling a gorgeous top for $180,000 to Saks Fifth Avenue, the famed department chain. More recently he was in ‘Driving Fashion Forward with Amber Valletta’, on MSNBC ‘Shift’ and on WABC News 7. (Source)   

Does Zero-waste mean Zero-Market In The Fashion World?

No! Silverstein has his designs on display at the most prestigious outlets all over the world. Oak, Macy’s, Fred Segal, Shopbop, Bona Drag, Curve, Gilt Roupe Japan and several others proudly sell Daniel Silverstein designs.

The celebrities that show-off in Daniel Silverstein at the red carpet events include Jennifer Hudson, Yael Stone, Kristen Bell, Amber Valletta, Alysia Reiner, Yolanda Ross, Lady Gaga, Gloria Estefan, Bonnie McKee and many more. More and more TV celebrities and models are being shown in Daniel Silverstein outfits on the covers of prestigious magazines.

Zero Waste is Zero Sacrifice:

Many of us might have the false beliefs that when something is about going green, zero waste or pro-environmentalism, we have to sacrifice most of our pleasures, like not having a luxurious life, not owning a nice car, not dining at fast restaurants and not wearing expensive leather or synthetic clothing and accessories.

However, in case of Daniel Silverstein it is proven wrong. He has shown how fashion can still be fashion with zero waste and organic fabric. He mostly uses locally made organic fabric and he wastes only a minimal quantity of fabric, while adding the scraps or leftovers to the main cut. Nonetheless, that does not necessarily mean that his designs look drab or outdated.

He has denims if you want and he has casuals that please every soul. He has successfully experimented with the evening dresses which make the hottest models and entertainment celebrities look hotter.

Just a quick peek into his website shows a sample of how elegant and trendy his ‘ The Piece Project’ designs are.

You see Alysia Reiner, an actress, activist, writer and producer, presented herself challengingly beautiful in Daniel Silverstein at Tribeca Film Festival — 2013.

Daniel’s fabulous designs look so modern that Oak, the popular New York based fashion designer clothing and accessories, stated on their online store (Source) that Daniel Silverstien is synonymus with luxury, fashion forward and one of a kind! And Oak is not a fashion establishment that is to be taken lightly.

An Old Head On Young Shoulders!

Though Daniel is relatively young, age-wise and experience-wise, he started his Label with a vision: “to make fashion designing zero waste”.  

In one of his interviews he quoted  Diane Keaton, the American film actress, director, producer, screenwriter and author, telling a story of how Steve Jobs, the late architect of Apple, prophesied about ‘computers’ becoming the future and how everyone would have a computer, and how she thought he was total crazy. His prophesy coming true, each of us now has at least one computing device. Likewise, Daniel declares that one day everything we make will be zero waste. Believe in yourself and the world will follow suit.

He and the likes of him might be humbled by the multi-billion dollar designers who might not find enough reason or time to consider wastefulness in making clothes, but what these designing ‘environmentalists’ are doing is a mammoth effort against all odds.

Did not Mother Teresa say: “What we do may be a drop in an ocean, but the ocean will be one drop less without that drop?”

So, let’s join hands with this young designer by wearing zero-waste designs and wish him every success in his present and future shows and collections.