Since 1992, millions of pounds of used clothing, shoes and accessories have been recycled in Samiyatex’s rag house yearly. The Samiyatex rag house buys donations from the homes through thrift store donations, donation bins, and shoe and clothing drive companies. Samiyatex’s sister company, Angel Bins, hosts shoe drives to collect shoes directly from the homes. Angel Bins works with organizations looking to raise money for a cause. Organizations participating in an Angel Bins shoe drive collect shoes from their communities and Angel Bins issues a check based on the weight of the shoes.
Besides purchasing used goods from the homes, Samiyatex also purchases the surplus product from thrift stores. Oftentimes the turnover in thrift stores is extremely fast and they have surplus amounts of inventory that do not sell which are purchased by rag houses like Samiyatex. Once Samiyatex purchases these used goods in bulk, they bring it into their warehouse and find a new home for them.
Samiyatex diverts used goods from the landfills and exports a portion of the goods overseas to third world countries and sells the remainder of the goods in their vintage department called LA Vintage. The clothes are sent to countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chile where the goods are resold by mostly women micro entrepreneurs who are able to resell the goods and make a living for themselves. The remainder of the goods are considered “vintage” (from the 2000s and before) or anything that is currently trending in the fashion industry is sold by Samiyatex’s vintage department, LA Vintage. LA Vintage currently has two sections to their vintage department, the wholesale department and the newly launched ecommerce store. Since 2006 the LA Vintage wholesale department has provided sustainable fashion for vintage and second hand retailers, wholesalers, designers, and stylists. Since a portion of the used goods that a rag house purchases are often damaged with stains, rips and holes, LA Vintage decided to start an ecommerce store to preserve these unique pieces. LA Vintage has been locally dyeing, washing and reworking products to provide a new life for the product. The LA Vintage ecommerce store provides reworked items as well as the most coveted pieces that the team finds in the rag house. The ecommerce store is an avenue for the public to finally shop directly from a rag house as the wholesale department is only open to customers with a state-issued reseller permit. This LA based truly sustainable brand has been created to provide unique, one of a kind pieces that have never been seen before. Digging in a thrift store is fun, but digging in a rag house is a completely different type of fun. This is an experience that LA Vintage wants their customers to finally receive. Check out the newly launched ecommerce store at lavintage.com to get a glimpse of the treasures found from the Samiyatex rag house.