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Designer Daniel Silverstein Creates Magic Using Fabric Scraps

Fashion

Get to know the Brooklyn-based designer

The following feature appears in the April 2017 issue of NYLON.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” perfectly describes Daniel Silverstein’s artistic process. The 28-year-old designer behind the line Zero Waste Daniel doesn’t sacrifice sustainability for design, but instead finds a way to make both work together harmoniously. 

“My line evolves weekly, not seasonally,” Silverstein explains. “We do weekly limited-edition styles in addition to our core basics. So the collection evolves with pop culture, holidays, politics, and my mood.” 

Everything is handmade at the designer’s Brooklyn studio and each piece saves about a pound of fabric scraps from going to landfills. Get to know all about Silverstein, from his clever material sourcing to his favorite movie.

Astrological sign
Aquarius

Design philosophy
Designers are problem solvers. Use your skills and eye to make change and make it look good. Waste nothing, don’t pollute. Be the change you want to see. 

Muses
Halston and Liza [Minnelli]. I think I was born with disco fever. 

Material of choice
Trash. I make everything from cutting-room scraps from local factories. I use what designers deem “too small” or “worthless.” Small pieces and weird shapes don’t scare me—it’s not waste unless we waste it.

Fun fact
I do celebrity impersonations and have a sick memory. Get a couple cocktails in me and it’s an amateur stand-up gigCher, Chris Rock, or whatever movie I just watched.

Dream travel destination
I have got to get to the pyramids.

Musical metaphor
Radiohead’s “Creep.” I slay that shit at karaoke. 

Current design inspiration
Right now we are deep into unisex basics. American Apparel is closed, Marc by Marc Jacobs is goneI’m just trying to feed the children, you know?

Personal wardrobe staple
Obviously I wear ZWD on the daily, and I can’t live without my Brave Gentlemen vegan boots.

Favorite spots in New York
Freemans and Joe’s Pub 

Last novel you loved
Gone Girl—it’s a page-turner for sure!

Favorite film of all time
Don’t do this to me. Just one? Okay, fine...Xanadu. 

Daily soundtrack
Ariana and the Rose, Of Montreal, and my seven-hour disco playlist 

Drink order
Before 5pm: black Americano. After 5pm: Maker’s Manhattan on the rocks (in my reusable mason jar, no straw please!).

Standby snack
Avocado toast and sour candy (not together)

See some of our favorite pieces by the designer below:

Image via Zero Waste Daniel

She considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth"

Dani Okon, NYLON's associate creative director of video, sat down with her great-aunt, May Okon, to talk about their shared experiences—despite vastly different time frames—living as queer women in New York City. Prior to retirement, May was a journalist for the New York Daily News, having first entered the male-dominated workforce when "the boys were all at war." And, of course, she absolutely killed it. Her only regret? "Retiring at 55," she tells Dani, joking, "Who the hell knew I was gonna live to 100?"

Upon retiring, she moved out to the Hamptons with her partner and bought a home. If she had to do it all over, May says "there are a lot of things I wouldn't do," but she still considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth." Get to know May in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Camera: Gretta Wilson + Katie Sadler
Edited by: Madeline Stedman

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Here's how they're making sure it doesn't happen

Lauren Morelli, the showrunner and executive producer for the new Netflix show Tales of the City, is fostering a space where multiple queer realities can be shown on-screen. She spoke with one of the cast members, trans actor Garcia (who plays Jake Rodriguez on the show), and, in the video above, they explore why it's wrong to treat queer stories as representative of the entire community. Tokenization is something that they both want to avoid at all costs, and they're on the right track.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Gretta Wilson + Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson

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"Nothing is truly a binary"

We put non-binary activist Eddie Jarrel Jones and The Phluid Project founder Rob Smith in conversation with each other, and the two spoke some powerful truths about the continued gendering of products like makeup and clothing. Smith recalls that 30 years ago, the only way that he was able to experience the joys of playing with makeup was to work at a beauty counter. Even today, Jones notes that it's hard for non-binary femmes like them, or even trans women, to get that experience in stores.

In the video above, get a sense of why Smith created a genderless store, and see how important it is for people like Jones to have a space where they don't feel criticized for dressing like they want.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Charlotte Prager + Dani Okon
Edited by Gretta Wilson

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We put the two activists in conversation

Marlene Colburn, one of the founders of the Dyke March, and Naima Green, an artist currently working on a project and archive called Pur·suit, which will document queer people of all identities, agree that it's really hard to find lesbian spaces that aren't bars. Just as hard, it seems, is to find lesbian representation that isn't white. In the video above, the two talk about how they are creating space for queer people and what that looks like within two different generations.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Dani Okon + Charlotte Prager
Edited by Charlotte Prager

Illustrated by Sarah Lutkenhaus

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