Digging out gems from the city’s dumpsters | Street View | Chicago Reader

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Digging out gems from the city’s dumpsters

One man’s treasure . . .


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  • Isa Giallorenzo

After noticing trash cans overflowing with furniture and school supplies on move-out day at the University of Michigan, Ian Vamossy was amazed to discover what others left behind. "I found working iPads and iPhones, bags and bags of clothes, ceramics, tools, knickknacks, unopened food," he says. Since leaving Ann Arbor and arriving in Logan Square, the 23-year-old has continued to find treasure—silver jewelry, antique furniture, a busted Marcel Breuer Cesca chair (retail $1,595). His favorite find was a mint­-condition Persian rug with a $3,000 price tag still attached. The rug is in his living room today.

Vamossy found his ushanka hat adorned with the U.S. Post Office logo in a Gold Coast dumpster. "The USPS is a valuable public service, and it's a really warm hat," he says. He first patched the holes in his bomber jacket with fabric ripped off an old couch. Then he added more patches to add some color. It's a work in progress.

Vamossy studied geology in college and is against wasteful consumption. He casually throws out environmental statistics—the average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing every year; buying a new polyester shirt increases total global petroleum consumption. Being environmentally conscious doesn't mean Vamossy isn't fashion conscious. Though he avoids buying clothes new (with the exception of underwear and socks), he favors the DIY spirit of the 70s and patterns that aren't strictly gendered: "I like the subversion of the hypermasculine into something more colorful."  v

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