HASTE MAKES WASTE: Men’s wear designer Heron Preston is pitching in to help New York’s Department of Sanitation try to reduce landfill waste.
More widely known for his collaborations with Kanye West and design work for Nike, Preston will be the center of attention at the Uniform launch event on Sept. 7 at the DSNY’s Salt Shed. Preston cooked up the idea for the collaboration earlier this summer when the DSNY was setting up its new nonprofit the Foundation, which aims to map out ways New Yorkers can end landfill waste. The organization is ramping up attention to how DSNY workers keep the city healthy, safe and clean, and it is establishing an educational DSNY museum. Preston was not available to comment Monday morning.
The partnership is an effort to drum up awareness for New York’s 0x30 initiative, which strives to send zero waste to landfills by the year 2030. Heron has developed a collection of merchandise and workwear essentials from up-cycled clothing and donated DSNY uniforms. Uniform will be the first in an ongoing series of collaborations with Preston that will be presented in the next year.
As the world’s largest sanitation department, DSNY employs nearly 7,200 uniformed sanitation workers and supervisors and has 2,048 civilian workers. The workers collect more than 10,500 tons of residential and institutional garbage and 1,760 tons of recyclables every day. (The city’s businesses generate more than 13,000 tons of garbage daily, which is wheeled away by private companies.) DSNY staffers also remove snow and ice from the city’s 6,000 miles of streets.
Preston was brought into the mix, after suggesting creating a ready-to-wear collection made of repurposed DSNY uniforms. The point being that salvaging used clothing for new items means they won’t wind up decomposing in a landfill. The initiative is also meant to recognize the largely anonymous city workers who don’t get a great amount of recognition from the 8.5 million people they serve.
Preston’s one-of-a-kind fashion Uniform collection will be unveiled at the DSNY’s Spring Street Salt Shed, a city-owned facility that is usually off-limits to the public. Why would anyone want to? The windowless, jagged building at the corner of Spring Street and West Street is something of a municipal curiosity — Dattner and WXY designed what looks like a concrete crumpled piece of paper. Color-coded floors to signify each of the department’s three districts, shutters to regulate sunlight to heat or cool the building and a green roof to harvest rainwater to wash garbage trucks are a few of the more unusual features.