The Team

  • Flint Fit is especially thankful to all the people of Flint who generously contributed to the project, including the Bottle Collection Team: Barbie Biggs with Dr. Lee Bell, Liberty Bell, Leon El-Alamin, Brian Hunter, Pastor Bobby Jackson, Bishop Bernadel Jefferson and Lathan Jefferson. Mayor Karen Weaver and Heather Griffin, Waste Services Coordinator for the City of Flint. Melissa Mays and Dr. Laura Sullivan, as well as Kettering University staff for their generosity. To Kyle Daly for holding down the fort. To our collaborating organizations: The Genesee County Hispanic/Latino Collaborative (Juani Olivares and Jessica Olivares), Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village (Maryum Rasool), Michigan Faith in Action (Eileen Hayes & Nakiya Wakes), Factory Two (Joel Rash), Flint Public Library, UAW Local 651, Salem Lutheran Church (Pastor Monica Villarreal), The Local Grocer, Aristotle Barber & Beauty, Flint Odyssey House, Goyette Mechanical Co., Inc., Hamilton Health Clinics, Michigan School for the Deaf, Woodside Church, NAACP Flint branch, International Academy of Flint, Academy West School, Durant Tuuri Mott Elementary School, Carman Ainsworth High School, Flint Southwestern Academy, and the Doyle Ryder School. And the many individuals who lent their voices and time: LaShaya Darisaw (Michigan United), Maurice Davis, Joelena Freeman, Trisha Holt and Milana Duthie (CultureLab Detroit), Carma Lewis, Jessyca Mathews (and the incredible students at Carman-Ainsworth High School), Sherrema Bower, Natasha Thomas-Jackson (and Raise It Up! Youth Arts and Awareness), Kala Wilburn (Vehicle City Fashion Week), Tyrone Wooten, and Mona Munroe-Younis, and countless others who donated their empty bottles!


  • Mel Chin (b. 1951, Houston, TX) is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. In 1989, he developed Revival Field, a project that was a pioneer in the field of “green remediation,” the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. From 1995 to 1998, Chin formed a collective that produced In the Name of the Place, a conceptual public art project conducted on the popular prime-time TV series, Melrose Place. In KNOWMAD, Chin worked with software engineers to create a video game based on rug patterns of nomadic people facing cultural disappearance, and his hand-drawn, 24-minute film, 9-11/9-11, won the prestigious Pedro Sienna Award—the “Oscar” of Chile—for best animation in 2007. A current project, Fundred Dollar Bill Project, focuses on national awareness and prevention of childhood lead-poisoning through art-making. Chin is also well-known for his iconic sculptures and installations, works that often address the importance of memory and collective identity, and for inserting art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and most recently, for working with advanced augmented reality (AR) technology, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility.


  • Tracy Reese is an American designer whose signature rich, daring colors and unique prints are crafted into joyful, feminine pieces for the modern woman. With an innate desire to create beautiful things, the Detroit native attended Parsons School of Design where she received an accelerated degree in 1984. Upon graduation, Reese apprenticed under designer Martine Sitbon while working for the small contemporary firm, Arlequin. In 1997, Tracy Reese launched her eponymous collection to rave reviews. By combining bold hues and prints with modern silhouettes and shapes, Tracy Reese creates fresh designs perfect for the confident, sophisticated woman. Tracy Reese designs have been featured in the top fashion publications – Vogue, Elle, Glamour, InStyle, O, the Oprah Magazine, Essence and WWD. Her distinct point of view has also made her a celebrity favorite. Notable fans of the brand include First Lady Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift. Her secondary line, plenty by Tracy Reese, was introduced in 1998. Plenty embodies the modern bohemian spirit, offering a distinctive combination of joyful color palettes and playful details. plenty by Tracy Reese is all about versatile everyday essentials with effortlessly, sexy styling. A member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 1990, Tracy Reese serves on its Board of Directors. Tracy is a champion for many charities and social causes. She is an advocate for HIV/AIDS charities and has served on the AIDS Fund Committee for the New York Community Trust for five years. She is also part of the Turnaround Arts program through the President’s Committee of the Humanities and Arts and is the Turnaround Artist for Barnum School in Bridgeport, CT.


  • Founded in 1972, Queens Museum is dedicated to presenting the highest quality visual arts and educational programming for people in the New York metropolitan area, and particularly for the residents of Queens—a uniquely diverse, ethnic, cultural, and international community. We fulfill this mission by designing and providing art exhibitions, public programs, and educational experiences that promote the appreciation and enjoyment of art, support the creative efforts of artists, and enhance quality of life through interpreting, collecting, and exhibiting art, architecture, and design. The artistic and educational programs and exhibitions we provide directly relate to the contemporary urban life of local communities, while maintaining the highest standards of professional, intellectual, and ethical responsibility.


  • No Longer Empty is a non-profit organization that activates public engagement with contemporary art through curated, community-responsive exhibitions and education programs in unique spaces. No Longer Empty works with internationally recognized curators to feature established artists alongside emerging artists. The synthesis of community interviews and site research drives the curatorial theme and revives the history of buildings. The curatorial premise and physical realities of the site provide artists with an alternative to today’s art world status quo, allowing them to expand their practice through site-commissioned work. No Longer Empty presents art in environments that are free and accessible to all. Our collaborative cultural and educational programming strengthen community links and bolster a vibrant cultural landscape. Harnessing the opportunity of interim use, we act as a catalyst and a model for building resilience and opportunity for all members of the community.


  • St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center is a faith-based environment providing life skills, education and workplace training, empowering women and men to become self-sufficient. Our mission is to offer a program for at-risk women where they would become more self-reliant and after completing our three year program they would be able to have the education, support, and courage to find a job or go onto college, enabling them to live independently and have a bright future. The Sewing Business at St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center is more than just a business, we work diligently to provide an environment that is supportive and nurturing to all of our staff members. All of our employees are graduates of our Three Year Program of Life Change or Employment Preparation programs. We offer job coaching and other support services in order to remove any barriers to their success in the workplace. The businesses at St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center offer the opportunity to learn a trade skill while establishing soft skills that lay a good foundation for continuous employment. Our mission is to aid individuals in becoming self-sufficient and the sewing business is one more way that we are “stitching lives together”.


  • Unifi is an American-based company with global operations, and a leading producer of polyester and nylon yarns, including their branded recycled fiber, REPREVE, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Unifi integrates sustainability into everything they do, including manufacturing, marketing and merchandising. REPREVE is the global leader in branded recycled fiber and is used by some of the most influential companies across the globe, such as Patagonia, Ford, Levi’s Volcom and Express. Production of REPREVE conserves resources, offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil. And compared to making virgin synthetic fibers, REPREVE production uses less energy and water, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

How REPREVE is made:

    • Unifi purchases baled PET bottles from Material Recovery Facilities (in the case of Flint Fit, it’s bottles collected in Flint, MI).
    • The bottles are sent to Unifi’s Bottle Processing Center in Reidsville, NC.
    • The bottles are thoroughly cleaned and chopped into pieces called flake.
    • The flake is then taken to the REPREVE Recycling Center in Yadkinville, NC.
    • The chopped bottle flake is melted and formed into small pellets called REPREVE chip.
    • The chip is melted again, extruded and spun into REPREVE fiber to be used in fabric.