About UsReimagine. Repair. Refashion.
About Mira Musank
Mira Musank is an interdisciplinary fiber artist who tackles overconsumption and waste in climate art activism. Based in the East Bay of San Francisco Bay Area, California – land of Indigenous tribes Muwekma, Ohlone, and Confederated Villages of Lisjan, Mira constructs custom garments by repurposing textile samples, used clothes, and fabric remnants. Through an intuitive process of sewing, weaving, and hand embroidery, Mira aims to give second chances to so-called textile waste with intimate yet expressive intentions.
Both Western haute couture and traditional East / Southeast Asian cultures inspire her works. Most recently, 3D models and virtual reality scene making inspires her to further her storytelling capability and engage with global communities.
To construct custom garments and accessories, Mira mostly sources her textile materials from the local Bay Area community – immediate neighbors, Buy Nothing and Freecycle groups, local designers and makers, as well as non-profit material rescue organizations. Afterwards, she redistributes what she ends up not using to the local community for creative reuse.
As a textile upcycling artist, Mira aims to encourage direct actions to address overproduction and overconsumption in this climate emergency era. She seeks global collaborative initiatives with creatives in various design disciplines to weave and amplify artistic voices and celebrate human-centric heritages.
Started Gathered Cloths project as part of Climate Creative’s Spring cohort
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About Fafafoom Studio
Fafafoom first started in 2007 as a fashion blog, largely showcasing fashion collections by local San Francisco Bay Area designers and students. When Mira became increasingly curious about garment construction, the transition from runway observation to DIY fashion experiments began.
In 2018, Mira began a new chapter in her artistic journey as a textile upcycling artist. While global high fashion styles continue to serve as major inspirations, she focuses on making good-quality garments with sensible functions that will be worn for a long time. Her thought processes of making these one-of-a-kind garments from start to finish are documented and shared on Fafafoom Studio. Mira’s works usually fall into one of three categories:
- Reimagine fabric cutoffs, remnants, and samples into a custom garment
- Repair holes, tears, and imperfections of an existing garment or accessories with reclaimed materials
- Refashion pre-owned garments into a new silhouette or design
Through Fafafoom Studio, she’d like to highly encourage reclamation and creative reuse of textile waste to keep them away from landfills, inspire makers of all levels, and invite collaborations with amazing individuals across the globe dreaming of a thoughtful and sustainable future.
Special Thanks to Our Collaborators
Experience Mira's Textile Art in Virtual Reality
The Climate Gallery features Mira Musank in the virtual “A Study in Artivism” exhibition. See Mira’s creations in the virtual Textile Arts Gallery and check out galleries from 4 other climate artists - Klara Maisch, David Solnit, Minori Murata, and Rose McAdoo.
"Because of Mira, two loveseats, an armchair and two ottomans will stay out of landfill."
“You were the absolute, best person to receive some of those heritage items from my family. Thank you for keeping these items alive."
In the Media
Mira Musank’s works have been shown in global publications and channels. It’s been a humbling yet exciting journey towards increasing awareness of textile waste, encouraging creative reuse, and fostering direct climate actions.
Textile Waste Challenges
73% of all clothing materials end up in landfills or incinerated.
In the US, the figure is around 85% in 2018 – 11 million tons of textiles got landfilled, the rest incinerated. Moreover, less than 1% of old clothes get recycled into new ones, and 92 million tons of textile waste is produced each year. This translates to an equivalent of a garbage truck filled with textiles and clothes dumping its load into landfills every second, every year.
There are plenty of textile cutoffs, remnants, and samples that are never made into a finished product. Let’s shift our perspectives about “textile waste” by repurposing these materials.
People wear clothes fewer times before throwing them away.
Throwaway culture has continued to worsen, especially with the normalized crazed of fast fashion. The number of times a garment is worn has declined by 36% in 15 years. It’s estimated that an average American throws away 81 pounds (37 kg) of clothes every year. To make it worse, the majority of discarded clothes are not recycled.
The mix of materials (fiber yarns, synthetic filaments, plastics, etc.) within our clothes dictates what can be recycled effectively. Globally, only 12% of clothing materials are recycled. The rest are downcycled, incinerated, or landfilled. Approximately $500 billion is lost each year due to decline of repeat wearings and failure to recycle clothes.
Donating used clothes and textiles can be problematic.
Only 10 – 20% of donated clothing gets sold domestically in the US. The rest gets exported overseas, with the US contributing 40% of secondhand clothing exports globally. Most of them ends up in Africa. At Kantamanto Market in Ghana, 40% of secondhand clothes that arrived go straight to landfill. Others landing elsewhere are most likely incinerated or go to domestic landfills.
When we hold on to our clothes longer, fewer will go through the dreadful linear funnel that ends up catalyzing environmental disasters and displacing people.
We rarely work with newly purchased materials. As much as possible, we shop our own wardrobe, source materials (clothes, fabric cutoffs, textile samples, deadstock, etc.) from local neighbors and non-profit organizations:
- To date, Fafafoom Studio has upcycled pre-owned clothing and home decor items from: Banana Republic, H&M, JC Penney, Target brands, MUJI, Uniqlo, United Colors of Benetton, West Elm, Zara, and many others.
- We regularly mend clothes and accessories from the following brands: Company of We, Kapital Japan, Levi’s.
- We receive fabric cutting remnants from the following local brands periodically: purplemaroon, Jessie Liu Collection.
- Additional fabric, leather, and paper samples from showrooms and design houses are also procured from Fabmo.
- Vintage garments and accessories, as well as fabric supplies from local home sewists and neighbors are also sourced at least once a year.
Excess fabric stashes that are not used are later redistributed to local communities for creative reuse via Buy Nothing or Freecycle groups.
In the future, we’d like to locally source sustainably made fabrics and textiles, as well as exploring new innovations in biomaterials.
We use sewing and overlocking machines, as well as hand sewing techniques to repurpose materials. Here are the methods we usually use (but not limited to):
- Deconstruction and reconstruction of pre-owned clothes
- Patchworking (i.e. piecing together various fabric cutoffs and textile samples before cutting and sewing them)
- Fabric layering / applique applying
- Blanket / crochet stitch and darning (frequently used to fix garment imperfections)
- Hand embroidery for surface embellishments or stain cover-up
- Seam finishing techniques that include top stitch, bias bind, french seam, flat fell seam, and invisible hem stitch.
What We Make