Saturday, April 20, 2024

Recycled Fabric Clothing

May 8, 2010  
Filed under Profiles / Interviews

By Semhar Debessai —

Interview with Human Error fashion designer Jackie Chambers.

They say, when life gives you lemons…well, you know the rest. Nowadays, however, you’re lucky to get the rinds of the formerly disparaged citrus fruit. Needless to say, tough economic times have forced a larger number of individuals in this country—employed and unemployed—to get rather creative with their income earning.

But is it too much to ask that your new venture meet your pocket-filling and life-fulfilling potential?

If you ask Jackie Chambers—one-half of the duo behind Human Error, an L.A.-based clothing line made of recycled fabric—she’d probably say…

“Drink a lot of coffee.”

But let’s start at the beginning of their quest to follow their dreams, help the planet, and turn those lemons into lemonade and…possibly a lot of dough:

“We [she and her business partner Tuesday Simon] sat out in the parking lot of our job one night and asked, ‘Why are we working for someone else?’ So two years ago we just did it. We got a card and I was like, ‘Charge it, girl.’”

That’s Jackie, 23. A scissor-happy New Mexico native who’s been making clothes “ever since I was a kid.” It’s been at least a week since she and Tuesday, 22 (also not a novice with the needle and thread), wrapped up one of many fashion events they plan to host this year, but Jackie admits she’s still reeling a little from all the planning that led up to it.

“We should be at the spa, but we work,” she says matter-of-factly.

But they have high hopes for their clothing line—which they officially launched in December last year—and their path does not involve a pit stop into Relaxation Town.

So when you say “recycled”…

“We call it one-of-a-kind recycled fashion because our fabrics aren’t biodegradable, but that’s why we use them. We give life to something that’s headed straight to the landfill.”

Where do you get this excess fabric?

“Designers have so much stock and they’re sitting on it. So we’re trying to clean up everyone’s mess.”

Do I sense a little animosity?

“We just want to revolutionize that Forever 21-type mass production. It’s sickening because you know most of it is going to be thrown out. Say, Frankie B. does seven fittings to get the perfect jean. That means seven pairs of jeans are wasted.”

Yes, definitely a little animosity…any other ways you plan to show up the competition?

“We have a pattern-making software where we can put in measurements. No fittings and no waste involved.”

So where are you hoarding the goods?

“Right now we’ve stored a bunch of the fabric. Then later we’ll have our storefront (they’re hoping for a Dec. 2010 opening) where we want to start making custom wear…instead of girls having to keep trying on [a bunch of sizes].”

You mean take all the fun out of shopping? (sarcasm)

“Tuesday would say we’re trying to put the ‘leisure back into shopping.’ We do that with events we put on. We have cocktails; you can talk to someone about colors…shapes…fabrics that you like. What you want to show off, what you don’t. We can find the perfect fit for your body type or occasion.”

Are you designers or fairy godmothers?

I studied marketing and design and Tuesday studied marketing. We have this fashion consulting business, too, called Forward Fashion ( We try to stay ahead of the curve. Two years ago I told Tuesday that we gotta watch out for overalls.

Yikes! I hope the future of fashion isn’t as scary…

You can check our website [but]…in the fall you’ll see the grunge movement coming back. [Also,] Byzantine Queen: heavy bejeweled things; almost 16th century men’s fashion—but for women.

So, what is the motivation behind dropping everything to follow your dreams?

We just did it because we wanted to…We’re doing something that’s our own.

You make it sound so simple!

You will get thrown a lot of curveballs but you learn to keep your perspective… and drink a lot of coffee.


2 Responses to “Recycled Fabric Clothing”
  1. Very inspiring article. I love the custom idea. Go with the your passion and do it. Lovely interview.

  2. Leah Turner says:

    This is a great idea. Everyone is looking for clothes to fit they’re unique style and how much better that we can help the environment at the same time! Genius! Thank you Semhar for getting the word out. I’d love to see more articles on fresh ideas that multitask!

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