"Reuse pro" Alex Eaves is traveling to all 48 of the contiguous United States, filming a documentary and spreading his message, "Reuse: Because You Can't Recycle the Planet."
Ten years ago, Eaves started a skateboarding company that offered rescued and repurposed t-shirts on the side. Before long, Eaves says it became apparent to him that these shirts were the most important piece of his business. Today his company, Stay Vocal, offers strictly reused and repurposed apparel. He says he uses shirts donated to him by thrift stores, or ones he "rescues" from merchandising companies.
"Whether a band breaks up, or a company goes out of business, a lot of time merchandise companies don't have a lot of time to sell them before they have to shred them, or burn them, or at the very least send them off to a third world country. I work with those merchandise companies, rescue those t-shirts, and incorporate new designs on them. Sometimes they're flipped inside out, sometimes I put a patch on the original design, or if the design is workable I just mix my own work into it. It makes for a lot more fun t-shirts that way."
Eaves says he tries to operate his company using as little waste as possible - all orders are printed on pieces of scrap paper, and all his apparel is shipped in cereal boxes.
He's been traveling around the US, staying with customers, friends, and even friends of friends - selling his apparel from "pop up shops." In Fargo, he spent a few hours selling his apparel out of AENDEE (A&D), a brand new store downtown with the same sort of mission. Ashley Dedin owns and operates AENDEE.
"I make handcrafted neckties and bow ties, and like Alex, everything I make is from a second hand material. My neckties and bow ties are actually made from men's button-down shirts," Dedin says. "I take those shirts, I get them from thrift stores or through donations; people sometimes bring in shirts that are meaningful to them."
On his road trip, Eaves has also been working on shooting a documentary film entitled "Reuse: Because You Can't Recycle the Planet." He says while it may be "trendy" to "go green," it's also important.
"It's an 'in' thing to do, but it's also just the thing that makes sense, you know? Our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, that was how it was done. It was just an unfortunate area from about the 1950s to the 2000s - all about disposability. I'm just trying to kind of go back a few steps so we can all go forward many more steps, because if we keep trying to live a disposable life or even a recycled life - there's only so many resources. We need to extend the life of the things that are already here."
The film will feature several people and projects Eaves has encountered in his travels on his "Reuse" tour. He says it is scheduled to be released next year on April 22nd - Earth Day.