Magpies & Peacocks, the nation's only nonprofit design house that collects and reuses post-consumer textiles, clothing, and accessories, has opened their first permanent retail space in Houston. The Co:Lab Marketplace is located inside the organization's current warehouse space in Houston's East End.
The 6,000-square-foot space holds luxury upcycled sustainable clothing, jewelry, accessories, and home decor, along with partner sustainable and ethical brands. There is also a bar offering cocktails and coffee, a lounge area, and a capsule gallery featuring the work of local artists.
Ahshia Berry, vice president and director of communications at Magpies & Peacocks, says that sustainable and ethical brands, such as Akoma 1260, Alice D'Italia, Onata Fragrances, and Three Lumps of Sugar, will be available in store.
"People have bought from us from the beginning, but we've grown to that place where we we're getting calls and emails all the time," says Berry in speaking why the organization decided to open a permanent retail space. "We've always had the product as the vehicle for the message, and we hope that the impact that the shop has is that not only do you get some cool upcycled products, you get what we're behind."
Sustainability and avoiding unnecessary waste — coupled with fashion — are the goals of the nonprofit, which is also a part of the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion.
"[We are] diverting textiles from landfills to disrupt the waste and the fashion industry and to teach the next generation of designers artists how to be sustainable and have circularity in their design," Berry says.
Magpies & Peacocks was founded by Sarah-Jayne Smith, CEO, in 2011 after she gathered 50 women together for an event called "Closet Deposits" in effort to live a more sustainable lifestyle, according to Berry. With this event, Smith was able to collect an estimated 3,000 pounds of consumer textiles. Smith was determined to educate individuals about the side of fashion many aren't aware of and the waste that overconsumption creates, Berry shares.
"We have diverted about 220,000 pounds of post-consumer textile waste from landfill," says Berry, "and we have upcycled about 5,000 products."
The organization, which has been located in the East End warehouse for three years, currently has two full-time and four temporary employees. Magpies & Peacocks has an advisory board of six and executive board of 10.
"Each year we evolve, Texas is the perfect place to do manufacturing because we're a port city, we have enough space, and you can still rent pretty cheaply here," says Berry. "We make everything here in Houston, nothing gets shipped away, we work with makers and a small batch manufacturer right here in Houston, and Sarah-Jayne still makes a good bit of our own things, and all of our designers are from here."
Berry says that Magpies & Peacocks also partners with local organizations and businesses.
"We are in five stores currently, and probably before the end of the year, another five and possibly the airport," Berry says. Berry adds that the nonprofit has also done projects with Visit Houston, including upcycling and designing the cadet uniform for the visitor bureau's moon landing mascot Spacey Casey.
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