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Live Inspired Podcast: S5 | Ep. 47 Daniel Silverstein

Daniel Silverstein

Fashion Week with Zero Waste Daniel: An Inspired Twist on the Fashion Industry

So many of us are experts at identifying what is wrong in the world, aren’t we?

What sets today’s guest apart is that he didn’t just identify what was wrong in his industry, he created a solution to the problem… and built a business around it.

I am so inspired by Daniel Silverstein, who you’ll know as “Zero Waste Daniel” after our conversation today.

I’m thrilled to share with you, during New York Fashion Week and fashion “season” around the world, a man who is adding an inspired twist to the industry.

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  • Every piece of clothing made in a factory (which is most of the clothing we wear) had to be cut out of a sheet of fabric. The leftovers scraps end up in landfills. I created Zero Waste Daniel to use these scraps + create articles that are less wasteful.
  • I was a very active kid, with ADD and a wild imagination. My family recognized this and helped me channel it.
  • I had a lot of interests and mannerisms that set me apart from my peers in rural Pennsylvania. Incredible mother figures encouraged me as I tried to make sense of why I was drawn to design and a little different from everyone else.
  • I interned with fashion giants Carolina Herrera and Carmen Mark Valvo. Then I got my first job designing sweaters for a big catalog company. As I learned about the cost we pay as companies and as consumers for fabric that gets thrown away: I realized it was a broken system resulting in catastrophic waste; 14 million tons in the US annually.
  • It’s both a volume issue: Where do we put all of this waste? and an issue of opportunity: We are reaping finite resources from the earth and not using all of them.
  • There comes a point in your life when you have to decide to do things for yourself.
  • My zero-waste vision came in 2010. I tried many iterations until 2017 when, finally, I created a business model that worked. Zero Waste Daniel Make / Shop in Brooklyn:
    • Pick out the discarded fabric scraps you like + then watch my team make your shirt on the spot. This also helps you understand why a shirt is $50.
  • Combat consumerism: Focus on need v. want. If you want something, ask yourself: How do I it at low impact?
  • The Zero Waste Blog Daniel references: Trash is for Tossers
  • There are many new designers and large designers coming to us now to help them cut their waste, too. There’s a chance to reach everyone and inspire change: If it comes from consumers up and business downs, we’ll all meet in the middle eventually.
  • Whether or not you’re into fashion, everyone wears clothes so it pertains to you.
  •  Always do your best. It isn’t the same every single day. But if you just try your best, you have nothing to regret.
  • It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, every industry has problems. Ask yourself WHY NOT ME – why can’t I make the needed change. The day I asked WHY NOT ME, my whole life changed.

Daniel Silverstein’s Live Inspired 7

1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? My mom gave me The Big Book of Small Business and I keep it on my bedside table.

2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. What would you do with it? I would invest in businesses that want to make change.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? One of my grandmother’s paintings. At 60, she survived breast cancer and had her “Why not me?” moment. She learned to paint and has created 100s of pieces now in houses across the country.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Cristobal Balenciaga an amazing designer interested in crafting new shapes and thinking outside the human form.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? The harder you work the luckier you get.

6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20? Just keep going.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? He was a kind honest and genuine person who always did his best.


If you enjoyed today’s episode: Subscribe (automatically get new episodes), rate & review (help spread the word!) this podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.

Live Inspired with John every day on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedInPinterest and get his Monday Motivation email: www.JohnOLearyInspires.com/Monday-Morning

1 reply on “Live Inspired Podcast: S5 | Ep. 47 Daniel Silverstein”

I spent the most enlightening evening last night, Thursday, Sept. 14th with Mr. John O’Leary and his Rock Star and donut “tycoon”. My way of thinking has changed, Why Me, Who Cares, What can I do to make things better. Now with the new 7 steps I have more to think about to make things better.
Thank you John, you have inspired me more than you can imagine. It was very special to meet your beautiful wife and also your parents.
I have been following you on my email for over a year now and your email is the first thing I turn on in the morning drinking a cup of coffee and reading your email starts my day.
God Bless all of you.

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