Apparel brands ETP and Kuyichi are the latest of five brands to join Circle Economy’s Switching Gear project in order to explore circular business models and connect with a global network of rental and recommerce experts. Other core brands to the project are Swedish menswear Asket and retailer Lindex.
“Circular business models, such as resale and rental, offer commercial opportunities for brands to innovate their business model, while expanding the practical service life of clothing - allowing us to do more with less, and when intelligently designed, reduce the total environmental impact of the industry. In these vulnerable times, it is especially important that we continue to explore how new models can improve our resilience as a global community. With Switching Gear, we aim to accelerate these business models in the apparel industry by providing brands with the expertise they need and connecting them with the right partners to successfully launch a pilot by 2021.” says Gwen Cunningham, Circle Textiles Programme Lead
In partnership with Fashion for Good, the project has also established the Switching Gear Enabling Network; a network of over 40 rental and recommerce experts and service providers to support the four participating brands that join in their journey to develop and pilot a new business model. Members of the network include: ThredUP, RePack, Eileen Fisher, Style Lend, Lizee and The Renewal Workshop.
Dutch corporate wear brand ETP has set ambitious circularity objectives for itself, including the launch of a 100% circular collection and only using only circular packaging materials in 2025. In the shorter term, they also aim to replace all regular cotton by BCI or ecological cotton and polyester by RePET in 2020. Re-use is also not entirely new to them, with several re-use programmes being trialed to explore how keeping corporate wear in circulation can realise cost and environmental savings for the brand.
“Although an average turnover in our customers’ staff is about 15%, very little of their clothing is currently saved for re-use, with some clothing not returned to ETP and remaining at their locations. By joining Switching Gear, we expect to establish what the real potential of rental or resale models is in reducing costs, reducing pressure on natural resources, and extending the purpose of the clothing that we have already made.” says Esther Oostdijk, Director Product & Operations, and ETP’s CSR Officer
Denim brand Kuyichi is committed to accelerating circular fashion, with key action points for 2020 including: the implementation of design strategies for cyclability, increasing the volume of used garments collected by establishing take-back schemes in at least 10% of their stores, and finally, increasing the share of garments made from recycled post-consumer textile fibers.
“A recommerce (resale) business model is the perfect addition to our circularity ambitions, especially considering the durable nature of denim. We are excited to work with the Switching Gear project team on innovating within Kuyichi and developing the right model for our organisation. Kuyichi was founded to show all that is possible to run a more conscious business, we’re positive that recommerce will be no exception to this.” says Zoé Daemen, Corporate Responsibility manager, at Kuyichi
The past two decades have seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of times clothes are worn. Coupled with a shift towards fast fashion, average consumers today buy 60% more items than they did 15 years ago and wear them for half as long. 70% of closets usually go unworn and it is estimated that 33% of women wear items as little as 5 times before disposing of them.
The Switching Gear project, supported by the Laudes Foundation, is part of the Bridging the Gap initiative, a group of six organisations working to stimulate sector-wide collaboration, facilitate innovative technologies and the design of best practices to enable the implementation of circular business models in the fashion industry’s supply chain. Other strategic partners of the Bridging the Gap group include the World Resources Institute, WRAP, London Waste and Recycling Board, QSA Partners and Forum for the Future.
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We work to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. As an impact organisation, we work to identify opportunities to turn circular economy principles into practical reality.
With nature as our mentor, we combine practical insights with scalable responses to humanity’s greatest challenges. Our vision is economic, social and environmental prosperity without compromising the future of our planet. Our mission is to connect and empower a global community in business, cities and governments to create the conditions for systemic transformation.
More than 50 businesses are now part of our membership community (from large multinationals to active SMEs and innovative start-ups) with whom we co-create practical and scalable solutions, making the circular economy happen. In addition, we work with cities, governments, CSOs, NGO’s, advisory boards and intergovernmental bodies. www.circle-economy.com
ETP designs and produces corporate wear collections exclusively for various companies in the Netherlands and abroad. We provide all required services and project management to take the ‘hassle’ from our customers hands. All this resulting in happy employees for the customer, who are proud of wearing their uniforms!
We are very pleased to be part of the Switching Gear project, to learn from and to share with the other teams! We trust that this project will bring us new insights and enable us all to take next steps in further developing sustainable and circular solutions.
ETP aims to design and produce the most sustainable - or even circular - product. With every choice that we make we weigh the possibility of recycling the garment as well.
In addition we assure that all other steps in our process are made as sustainable as possible. At the same time we strive to enhance awareness of our customers and their staff wearing our garments, of the need to change to circular models and their own role in the process. We are organizing and facilitating re-use, to create maximum use of the technical lifetime of each garment. Meanwhile we work on actual circular solutions for the materials that we use. ETP’s goal is the launch of real circular corporate wear garments before 2025. Collections designed together with and for our customers, that offer the best mix of sustainable /circular items. By developing, producing, wearing and recycling these, we contribute to reducing the negative environmental impact of our product.
To succeed in our mission, we need to create a business model that will last and enable all involved in this chain to close the loop.
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Barbara Schothorst, email@example.com, +31 6 54798850
Esther Oostdijk, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31 6 54374353
Kuyichi is a sustainable denim brand that was founded in 2000 to fight for a positive change in the fashion industry. All of their pure goods are produced in a conscious and innovative way, with a focus on quality denim with a perfect fit. Kuyichi stopped making seasonal collections and doing sales to make a statement against fast fashion. Instead, the brand chooses to inspire consumers to buy more consciously.