WE FASHION: CONVERTING TEXTILE WASTE INTO FASHIONABLE SWEATERS
Recycled items contain 50% pre-worn clothing
Utrecht, 10 October 2018 – WE Fashion has taken a new step in the development of sustainable clothing. Through ‘Fiber to Fiber’, a European Clothing Action Plan project focusing on innovation for the circular economy, the brand’s hard work has led to the development of two new yarns made from recycled cotton. The results are tangible: four fashionable sweaters for men which are available in-store and online for a retail price of €49.99.
WE Fashion has an established record of reducing product waste by stimulating and facilitating the collecting and recycling of used clothing. Even clothes that are not up to the standards of the second-hand market can still be recycled, and the re-use of materials is a great way to do that.
Fiber to Fiber
WE’s aim with the Fiber to Fiber (F2F) project was to create a new item with 50% of its fabric made up of recycled textiles. The result of the co-operation with Texperum and the Belgium spinner ESG are four fashionable sweaters for Men. Their quality, commercial appeal and pricing make them a perfect fit for the existing range of WE Fashion. Half the fibers in one of the yarns come from used cotton jeans, with the other 50% consisting of Tencel, a sustainable Lyocell fibre sourced from eucalyptus wood. 50% of the other yarn is also made of Tencel, plus 50% of fibers from used cotton T-shirts. The sweaters are produced in a Bulgarian factory that has achieved the highest possible score (A) in the BSCI audit.
Thanks to the use of recycled cotton fibers, it takes 92% less water, 12% less chemical agents and 8% less energy to produce these sweaters, compared to what the regular production process requires. “We’ve found a way to convert textile waste into high-quality new items,” says WE Fashion CEO Joris Aperghis. “Thanks to this process, our spinning partner has developed new expertise in spinning used cotton fibers, expertise that can now be used for further development and to produce yarns in more colours with an even smaller footprint. Our ultimate goal is to use this yarn, or a variety of it, in future orders.”
The knowledge that has been generated from this project serves as a case study for other retailers, stimulating the recycling of used clothes throughout the clothing industry. The yarns are already available to other buyers.
WE Fashion is an original Dutch fashion brand with stylish, high-quality and accessible collections for Men, Women and Kids. WE Fashion goes all out for connection, and wants to help customers to dress ‘just right’. With its collections WE connects customers with their own environment and gives them the space to develop their own unique style. The items are not only perfect in combination with our own collections, but also with those of other brands. It is no coincidence that WE Fashion’s motto is ‘We are better together’.
The collections are sold through our own stores, wefashion.com and online partners. Omni-channel initiatives like the WE is ME customer program, the WE Fashion app and the ability to order online in the store complement the shopping experience. With around 210 stores and 2,500 employees, WE Fashion can be found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The international distribution center and the organisation’s headquarters are located in Utrecht.
ABOUT THE EUROPEAN CLOTHING ACTION PLAN www.ecap.eu.com
Fiber 2 Fiber (F2F) is one of the projects that make up the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP), and the project focuses on innovation in the circular economy. The objectives of the F2F project are to close the circle of recycled textiles in new clothing and fashion. ECAP is running several different demo projects in three countries, and aims to make new items from old clothes for nine different brands and retailers. The project’s results will be shared among all the participating countries. Companies that take part in the F2F project are mainly keen to minimize the use of new materials, which will reduce the amount of energy, water and chemicals they consume. Textile waste is being transformed into a commodity, while the joint ECAP projects are building cross-sector cooperation and creating new opportunities.
Texperium focuses on retrieving high-quality fibers from used textiles and developing new products using these fibers. This is achieved using mechanical recycling of textiles that are not suitable for re-use or resale.
ABOUT EUROPEAN SPINNING GROUP
ESG is a Belgian family-run company that manufactures and distributes textile yarns for diverse markets and applications. In association with its partners it focuses on developing innovative yarns for a sustainable, efficient and creative textile sector. It is a global player that manufactures its products using an environmentally friendly spun-dyeing process that also provides huge savings in water usage.
ABOUT RIJKSWATERSTAAT LEEFOMGEVING
Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) has diverse knowledge and implementation responsibilities relating to both the natural environment and the living environment. It is the body that implements policy and legislation for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW). The team from RWS Leefomgeving (Dutch for ‘living environment’) functions as the knowledge center for sustainable waste management and the circular economy and represents ECAP in the Netherlands.