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Sustainability 101: What is deadstock fabric?

Sustainability is more important now than ever before. As the world population continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important to be mindful of our impact on the environment.

The fashion industry faces a significant challenge with the accumulation of fabric waste, as vast quantities of garments are either discarded in landfills or incinerated annually. Surprisingly, recent reports indicate that less than 1% of the fabric used in clothing production is effectively recycled for the creation of new apparel.

Alongside the issue of excessive clothing production, which reaches staggering numbers of up to 100 billion new garments each year according to certain studies, another concern arises from the surplus of unused or "deadstock" fabric found in manufacturing mills.

One way we can all make a difference is by being conscious of the products we buy and how they are made. 

What are deadstock fabrics?

Deadstock fabrics are leftover fabric rolls from fashion designers and garment manufacturers. These fabrics would otherwise go to waste but can be repurposed by other designers and makers

Overall, deadstock fabrics are a great option for those looking to be more sustainable in their sourcing. It is important to remember that these fabrics are often limited in quantity and might not be perfect, but they offer a great opportunity to reduce waste.

Why is it important to use deadstock fabric?

By using deadstock fabric, we can help reduce textile waste and pollution. In addition, it is a more sustainable way to source fabric, as it requires less water and energy to produce. 

History of deadstock fabric

Fashion insiders first coined the term "deadstock" in the early 2000s. At that time, there was an increase in awareness of textile waste and its impact on the environment. As a result, many companies began to donate their excess fabric to charities or sell it at discounted prices.

Deadstock fabrics have become more popular among sustainable fashion brands in recent years. Many designers are now using deadstock fabric to create unique and sustainable garments. As a result, deadstock fabric plays an important role in the fight against textile waste.

How has the Perception of Deadstock Fabric Changed Over Time?

The perception of deadstock fabric has changed significantly over the years, particularly in the context of sustainability. For instance, in 2018, designer brand Burberry faced backlash for burning unused products. In response to the criticism, the brand and others in the industry have adopted new sustainability practices, including the reduction or elimination of deadstock fabric from their supply chains. When deadstock does exist, efforts are made to repurpose it for more sustainable uses​.

Are deadstock fabrics a sustainable option?

Deadstock fabric is a leftover fabric that fashion brands would otherwise discard. Using deadstock fabric, brands can reduce their environmental impact and create unique products.

As the fashion industry continues to search for sustainable solutions, deadstock fabric remains an intriguing option. However, some critics argue that deadstock fabrics are not truly sustainable fabrics. While it does divert waste from landfills, it often requires a great deal of energy and resources to process.


  • Reduce textile wastage and pollution
  • A more sustainable way to source fabric scraps
  • Less water and energy required to produce
  • Can be more environmentally friendly, as it does not require new production
  • It may be cheaper, as it is already manufactured
  • Can add unique personality and character to designs


  • Some deadstock fabric can be expensive
  • There can be a limited selection of designs and colors
  • It may not have been produced with sustainable practices

What is the difference between deadstock and vintage fabric?

The main difference between deadstock and vintage fabric is that deadstock fabric is unused or excess fabric from fashion designers, manufacturers, and textile mills. On the other hand, Vintage fabric is a recycled fabric that has been pre-owned.

What is Available stock fabric?

Available stock fabric is a term for different fabric factories mass-producing because they are confident it will sell eventually. A common example of stock fabrics are plain knit jerseys for t-shirts. Manufacturers produce large quantities of this fabric because they know there is always a customer for t-shirts, even if the demand isn't immediate.

Transparency issues

Deadstock fabric has a transparency issue in the supply chain. It's not easy to follow the fiber's origin and production process. As a result, there is a chance that the cloth was not manufactured ecologically, socially, or using harmful chemicals.

Better options than deadstock fabric

If you are looking for sustainable fabric options that are not deadstock, there are a few different options to consider. One option is organic cotton, which is grown without the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals.

Another option is recycled polyester, which is made from post-consumer plastic bottles. Finally, you could also consider the bamboo fabric a sustainable alternative and eco-friendly option.


While deadstock fabric may not be the most sustainable option, it can be a great way to reduce waste and give new life to recycled materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

When shopping for clothing brands that use deadstock fabric, it's important to consider the quality of the fabric and whether it will meet your needs. However, deadstock fabric can be a great way to save money and find unique fabrics for your projects.