With Flint, Michigan still in the midst of a water crisis, there has been a severe increase in water bottles. With so many empty water bottles in one place, one designer had a great idea to turn them into fashion.
The Flint water issue has been a problem since 2014. During that year, the city of Flint decided to get its water supply from the Flint River. The water wasn’t being properly treated right to prevent pipe corrosion which caused lead to be infused in the water supply for the majority of the city.
The state is required to give each Flint resident 14 bottles a water a day. Flint has a population of approximately 97,000, which can lead up to 1.3 billion water bottles that are handed out per day. That can lead up to an abundance of plastic and most are never recycled.
“It’s about something that is empty, like a water bottle, fulfilling the potential of jobs and manufacturing that has also been lost,” Chin told FOX 66 News.
Artist Mel Chin, a Houston, Texas native, has started the project Flint Fit. Chin who also helped the Fundred Dollar Bill project to eliminate lead poisoning in children, has teamed up with Detroit native designer, Tracy Reese (known for designing a dress for Michelle Obama that she wore at the Democratic National Convention in 2012) and the Queens Museum in New York City to create raincoats, swimwear, and other accessories out of the recycled water bottles, which was reported by the Flint Journal.
“This is a prototype of a big triangle of association of creativity and just the will of people.” Chin said while speaking to local media on Monday, October 30 at the St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center.
According to mlive.com the water bottles are being collected from homes, community centers, and other locations. They are then being sent to Greensboro, North Carolina where they will be turned into fabrics and thread by the company, Unifi Inc. The fabrics will end up back in Flint where members of St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center sewing program will create the patterns designed by Reese.
A fashion show is said to be held in New York City in April 2018 which will then be followed by a show in Detroit.
“This project would only work with the people in this city,” Chin added. “Having the people finish all of the designs in Flint is what makes this a very amazing opportunity.”
Laura Raicovich, executive director of the Queens Museum, said she admires the way artists like Chin “can contribute to the transformation of the really tough issues that we face as a society.”