THROW recycled trade show banners

THROW Recycles Trade Show Banners Into Trendy Handbags and More

In Accessories, Fashion Features, New York, Sustainable Fashionby Erica Yanus

Showtime is THROW time! Fashion industry veterans Anthony Lilore and Eliane Said have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help recycle trade show banners for their new sustainable fashion business called THROW. With over 50 years of combined experience in design, product development, manufacturing, and sales, their passion is to refashion the fashion industry through repurposing used textiles.  

THROW takes materials that have served their purpose and turns them into something new. Materials used by THROW range from a designer’s leftover fabric to giant vinyl trade show banners destined for the landfill. Throw “up-cycles” them into repurposed trendy handbags, travel bags, and cosmetic bags of the highest craftsmanship and style. You can support THROW’s mission by pledging $20 or more and you’ll get to choose from beautifully designed products repurposed from over 4000 square feet of trade show banners. 

THROW Collection on Kickstarter

Support THROW’s mission by participating in the Kickstarter campaign. See the full THROW collection here.

Q&A with THROW Cofounder Anthony Lilore

We went behind the scenes at THROW to ask Founder and Chief ReDesigner, Anthony Lilore a few questions about how THROW was conceived. Anthony is a renowned sustainability expert and a designer who has worked for major labels as well as co-founding RESTORE Clothing, a NY-based consultancy focused on sustainable design and manufacturing. 

Fashion Mingle: What inspired you to create THROW? 

Anthony Lilore: The inspiration for THROW comes for the same thing that I believe spawns most inspiration, to quote Bill Murray, “show up prepared and alert”. I am always in the mindset of doing things and making things “for the better”. That said, the inspiration for THROW, in its current state, came out of a conversation/collaboration with Jennifer Bacon at Messe Frankfurt. We were discussing the TexWorld banners hanging from the ceiling at the Javits Center at the close of the July 2018 show. She had said that an ongoing theme for future shows would be based on their Commitment to Sustainability. Being a person that likes to design and manufacture solutions, not to mention the fact that I think just about anything can be turned into a bag or something other than what it is, I suggested that we make bags, #BannersToBags as part of their sustainability initiative for the next shows. She thought it was a good idea and the development began. To date, along with Eliane Said, my partner, we are in the process of diverting over 45000 sq.ft. of trade show vinyl away from landfills in the form of  “really freakin’ cool bags”.

FM: Your Kickstarter campaign mentions you are a “sustainability veteran”. When did you become interested in sustainability and how have you incorporated sustainable fashion into your career over the years?

AL: In 1999 the company that Celeste Lilore and I had started years earlier, ran a project for a client that required black polyester fabric be turned into printed banners and tablecloths. These items were to be used as promotional signage for a sales campaign that would last two weeks. For this project we used 60,000 yards of fabric which was disposed of after the sale campaign. That was a turning point. Perspective: 60,000 yards is approximately 34 miles of fabric going into the garbage or landfill. From that point on we started to look for ways to be less wasteful in our sourcing and manufacturing projects. This lead us to a textile mill that we worked with who had connections to UNIFI which at the time was beginning the process of turning plastic bottles into polyester fiber. That was the connection that we needed to start to close the loop. We had to keep making things (that was our business) and we had to be less wasteful (our better business). Rather than going to landfill the bottles or polyester fabric could become polyester fiber again for another round of production. So it was that desire to simultaneously create less waste and create better product that has driven us forward ever since. In much the same way we would probably not complain about an apple tree with too many apples we should not complain about textile or fashion abundance as long as excess and waste becomes feed stock for the next round of production in much the same way apples on the ground put nutrients back into the soil.

FM: Being a Fashion Mingle Member and Advisor, do you have ideas for how Fashion Mingle members can be impactful in the area of sustainable fashion?

AL: Simply by asking the question about how to be more sustainable in fashion, you are making a difference. Fashion Mingle has a unique opportunity to provide information to its membership. With this platform in place Fashion Mingle could host virtual town halls or virtual panels where fashion industry participants could exchange, through Q&A, impactful ideas and solutions. This can be the cornerstone of the positive change that you are ushering through one of the largest and greatest industries on the planet. Don’t forget, just about everyone wears clothing and way way way more things than you can imagine, have a textile component.  Let’s keep our stuff for longer, make better stuff when we need more and repurpose that which has outlived its usefulness! At THROW, there is no away.

If you believe in THROW and want to get your hands on some of the sustainable products yourself, visit their Kickstarter campaign. If you want more articles like this or more eyes on your fashion business, become a Fashion Mingle Member