Repeat the Life Cycle of Unusable Clothes

My concept for three textile processing tools deals with the question “What do we do with our textiles if passing them on (selling or donating) is not an option?” Since the recycling of fabrics is still difficult, I wanted to extend the lifetime of supposedly worthless fabric remnants, which in fact have been produced costing large amounts of energy and water. For this procedure, the roller knife is used to cut the fabrics into long strips. The hand sewing machine sews short strips together and finally, the battery drill attachment spins the individual strips into a strong rope. In order to be used as long as possible, the tools can be dismantled and repaired easily.

Roller knife: The roller knife can be extended by adapters so that several standard blades can be used at the same time. 
Hand sewing machine: A mechanism of the hand sewing machine moves the needle and the hook, which grabs the upper thread simultaneously. The hook knots the upper thread around the bobbin thread, creating a secure bond.
Rope gear: A planetary gear, consisting of four gears, turns the strips into a rope

student:Leonhard Burmester
project:urban mining – urban tooling

Society of Narcissists

by Leonhard Burmester

We are in the year 2035. The world has changed. The majority of people live alone, take care of themselves and insist on individualism. In third world countries, this behaviour still has a positive effect. In all of the other countries, it threatens the cohesion of society.

Elif had literally put individualism into her cradle. Since she can think her mother was busy during the day keeping her little shop two streets away running while her father as a travelling trader sometimes spent several days in a row on the road to sell this and that. This meant that Elif had a lot of freedom, which she enjoyed too much in her young years. Not very productive, which could lead to small quarrels with her parents, but over time an idea developed that would make Elif a busy woman a few years later. We are in the year 2035. A Friday, about 7:30 am, Cologne. Before Elif starts her working day, she pours some sugar into her coffee and stirs it. Today she takes a lot of time, because her experience tells her that not many new orders will be received today. With a lethargic voice command she starts a previously invisible, oversized screen on the wall, which hardly fits proportionally to her single apartment. It shows a map of the city with a total of 74 people waiting to be supplied. Elif checks whether all the desired items are available in the warehouse and then divides up their drivers, who drive things out on efficient routes. Elif’s business is to lend everything that isn’t too big or lively. Due to the tendency that more and more people live alone, here in Germany currently even more than 45 percent, the needs of people have changed. What was bought at that time and then used by the whole family, for example, is now often superfluous and is rarely used. This fact and the trend that everyone would like to have everything immediately available gave Elif the idea and so she started as a kind of service to borrow things from people who do not need them temporarily and to bring them to those who have placed an order via the website. As time went by, demand grew and Elif had to rent her own warehouse to stock the most popular items in larger quantities. A short time later, drivers were added. And before she could realize it, she had her own company. A lot of responsibility, risk and long working days. But Elif likes it. She has a knack for finding everything from somewhere and making the customer happy. Whether television or any other electronics, household appliances, vehicles, tools, books, art, furniture, simply everything.

Every now and then small compromises have to be made, but the majority of the things are always with somebody. In order to maintain this cycle for as long as possible, Elif makes sure that its products are as high-quality and durable as possible. Of the 74 orders received today, she is again taking on a few. In addition to all the organizational work, Elif enjoys the hours in which she, like the other riders, travels around town on an e-bicycle and comes into contact with the customers. After a short ride she arrived at the warehouse, exchanged one or two words with the drivers and then loaded the loading area of her bicycle. The metallic crackling of Elif’s chain is accompanied by light, plastic-like crackling. More and more rubbish collects on the streets from year to year. Elif noticed some time ago that the increasing individualisation is accompanied by a decline in solidarity and that people dispose of their rubbish after the “after me the Flood” feeling. Elif is a little reassured to know that your company is counteracting this, even if only slightly. There is no packaging and if one is brought, there are custom-printed covers or housings that survive many transports. Elif has arrived at its first destination. On the third floor, a young woman opens the door. She invites Elif in, which hardly ever happens, and creates some space on her dining table where various plates, glasses, cutlery and small tools are stacked. Curiously, the customer opens the small transport box and reveals a pen-like object. This is a special engraving pen, explains Elif. Not only can it work on almost any surface, it also compensates for unwanted hand movements that could lead to poor results. After Elif received her plan from the customer to put her name and logo on everything, she says goodbye and swings back onto her bike. The next customer lives not far from the cathedral in a small side street. Elif knows the way and has already been to this address several times. She climbs the four floors and then hands over a good hand-sized transport box to the impatient, waiting gentleman. He accepts the parcel gratefully and is back in his apartment a few seconds later. In the package is a small useful tool that Elif recently ordered. An ergonomically shaped, metallic handle that opens easily towards the upper side. A small blade is embedded in this gap, which can be sharpened or replaced if necessary. The tool, the so-called “zipper”, turns almost all old textiles into long stripes. These can be processed to ropes with the help of further tools. Each individual not only uses the material longer, but is also sensitised to the issue of textile waste.