A new exhibit at Milan Design Week, called Waste No More, is bringing attention to a design trend that focuses on environmental friendliness. Exhibitors created installations made from unused or worn out fabrics, which often get thrown away. Only 25% of the world’s textiles are recycled and the rest are burned or buried in landfills, says The New York Times.

The Danish company Really, in partnership with the Danish textile brand Kvadrat, returned to Milan for a second year with a show of furnishings made from discarded denim and white cotton laundry fibers stiffened with a binder. Handed to seven prominent international designers, the material resolved itself into cabinets, shelves and a table with the denim part rubbed away to reveal a white cotton core.

Shanya Lewis, a graduate student in industrial design at Parsons School of Design, says she believes recycled textiles carry a stigma of low quality and lack of cleanliness, which she is seeking to overcome. Her thesis project is a similar work of alchemy for which she transforms blue-jean fibers into tableware and designed a wood chair with recycled denim upholstery.

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