Podcast: Scott Hamlin, Looptworks

December 15, 2014

The rep that Portland, Oregon has gotten recently is pretty well-deserved. It’s an eccentric, sometimes zany, frequently rainy, but otherwise fabulous place to live. And Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein have made its zaniness a widely held belief with their satirical Portlandia sketch comedy show on IFC. But what most people don’t understand or maybe don’t know about Portland is how rich it is with innovative, intentional and eco-focused pioneers. As someone who lives and works in Portland, I know that we tend to take for granted the little bubble we live in here. Surrounded by smart entrepreneurs creating cool things, sometimes it’s easy to miss one of those cool things.

That’s why I was psyched to interview Scott Hamlin, founder of LOOPTWORKS, for the third episode of my podcast. The freshwater Talk podcast is my way to tell engaging and enriching stories at the intersection of economic engines and environmental problems. It’s great to use this podcast to tell the story of a fellow Portlander, especially one who has created something like LOOPTWORKS – a business made from other people’s waste. From scuba suit material to leather seat covers from airliners, LOOPTWORKS focuses in “upcycling,” utilizing excess and material leftovers to manufacture clothing and accessories.

“There’s beauty in this excess and you can use creativity to turn it into a desirable product.”

Scott and LOOPTWORKS are creating a higher value and environmental standard for their products and reexamining the lifecycle and manufacturing process of a product. They are giving consumers a new option — a purchase that lines up with their beliefs. They are energized by the challenge of creating a culture of waste reduction and drawing the connection between the literal conservation of water and avoidance of carbon omissions to that of purchasing consumer goods.

“One cotton T-shirt equals 715 to 800 gallons of water, or a 2.5 hour shower.”

Water, and defining the water footprint of a particular piece of apparel, is a big issue for LOOPTWORKS; changing the way we think about manufacturing and consumption is an even bigger issue for them. This is not just a story about the fashion industry and production of consumer goods, but a story about problem-solving and redesigning the world that was built for a different time. I like to say that the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed….and it can definitely be found over at LOOPTWORKS.

I’m honored to have Scott as my first Portland guest, especially since our discussion dives into the economics of water and consumption. I was left inspired and concerned about the different ways we should be addressing consumption and manufacturing. I hope you will feel just as inspired after you listen to episode 3 of freshwater Talk.

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