Alumni Updates: Emi Stearn ‘12

By Emi Stearn ‘12, NNM Alum

I am currently working as an Online Sales Coordinator at FABSCRAP, a non-profit fabric recycling organization, located at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York City. We work with hundreds of designers and brands in NYC to help recycle their unwanted materials instead of throwing them away. During my time studying fashion design at the Pratt Institute, I became increasingly aware of the negative environmental impact and unethical labor practices within the fashion industry. This led me on a search to devote my work towards offsetting those negative impacts.

The work I have been doing at FABSCRAP has challenged my goals for the future… Although I have dreamed of creating my own brand, I do not want to contribute to the fashion industry’s waste problem because I know just how much excess material there is and how hard it is to recycle. I am excited about pushing the boundaries of fashion, thinking about how to use material that already exists to create unique one-of-a-kind pieces that can be worn for years and passed down generation to generation as a treasured piece. The clothing that my grandma has passed down to me has inspired this idea of multi-generational hand-me-downs.

I love exploring, either by foot or by bike. If ever I have free time, I like to go aimlessly. To explore with no limitations or agenda is when I feel that I find the best adventures and treasures.

Keeping a zoomed out perspective on life allows me to stay focused on the big picture goals, which ultimately require focus in the day-to-day. I’ve been reading a book that has helped me see life in a more expansive way. (The main character awakens in a spaceship inhabited by an alien species who are very intelligent and have deeply analyzed human nature.) Although it may seem a little counterintuitive, the expansive presence of the universe and the thought of life outside Earth makes me feel grounded and more focused on my individual path.

My first memory of Near North is in Cynthia’s class learning to write in cursive. I was very shy and timid as a kindergartner, but Cynthia’s warmth and care made me feel safe and optimistic. I can still remember the feeling of tracing my pointer finger along the pink sandpaper letter board — I think it was a capital “I” — and that feels significant because I began the discovery of myself as an individual there in that classroom!

The first thing that comes to mind is community. I could say a ton of other things such as making 8-foot-long timelines or intrinsic motivation, but my time at Montessori provided a sense of community that I strive to spread everywhere I go. As time has gone on since graduating in 8th grade, my connections with fellow grads have only grown. My Montessori friends are truly my family — a feeling of unconditional love and an understanding beyond most. I am grateful for that, especially because the community happens to be incredibly inspiring.