Nowadays, what is fashionable changes rapidly. Popular clothing brands regularly renew their collections - some even more than 20 times a year!
Tons of new materials and hectoliters of water are used to introduce these collections and clothes are often produced in places where workers' rights are not respected.
More than 85% of used textiles end up in landfills, and residual fabric dyes are often dumped into ditches, streams or rivers.
To reduce the amount of textile waste, more and more brands are using old clothes to create new ones or they are transforming used, outdated collections into completely new items.
Such a circular approach is presented by, among others, the popular German retailer, which - as part of the company's sustainable development policy - tries to conduct activities to reduce the amount of generated waste.
We cooperated with Miles Promoocean - an International Group specializing in creating holistic product concepts for global brands. One of Miles Promoocean client - a big German retailer - was looking for a solution to the problem of out-of-date workwear deposited in their warehouses.
We were looking for an idea to give a second life to this workwear so that its life would not end in landfills. As part of the cooperation, we took material samples, analyzed the waste, and then collected ideas from upcycling designers cooperating with Deko Eko. After analyzing their proposals, we offered the client a solution - sewing the clothes into functional shopping bags. Ultimately, the project resulted in 4,380 prepared bags, which were handed over to retailer employees.
The clothing industry is responsible for as much as 10% of carbon dioxide emissions on a global scale, and is also the second largest consumer of water in the world. Lagging collections of out-of-date clothing are a huge problem. While workwear is a relatively small part of the fashion industry, the problem of outdated collections needs to be resolved here, as in the case of mass production for the individual customer.
It was the outdated workwear - shirts for employees - that was the main material that we used in the project conducted on request of Miles Promocean.
As a result of the project, work shirts were sewn onto shopping bags, which were to be used by employees while shopping. The bags were made by a social enterprise employing people with disabilities. This is another positive impact of our cooperation with German retailer, in addition to the environmental dimension. The proposal to entrust production to a company where people with disabilities can find employment was very positively received by our client as it fits very well with the company's social responsibility policy.
The social enterprise prepared 4,380 bags. They are functional and durable; when folded, they fit into a trouser or jacket pocket.
A project carried out for the German retail chain, in cooperation with Miles Promocean agency, showed that outdated clothing collections do not have to end up in landfills, but can successfully return to circulation, turning into new and durable items. Outdated work shirts turned into shopping bags that went to employees of this retail chain.
The large circulation of bags - 4380 items - helped reach German retailer employees with education on the idea of circular economy and allowed to show the potential of upcycling, thanks to which seemingly unnecessary items gain a second life.
Other companies with outdated workwear in their warehouses could be inspired by a project implemented in cooperation with Miles Promoocean.
The problem of a responsible approach to waste management is as important in the case of workwear as regarding mass-produced collections for individual users. Currently, as much as 85 percent of all textiles end up in landfills.
The popular retail chain, thanks to a project conducted in cooperation with Deko Eko, has shown that landfills are not the only solution to the problem of outdated clothing. Thanks to upcycling, out-of-date clothing can turn into completely new items and thus not only remain in circulation, but also give new value to its users - as a result of our project, outdated shirts "returned" to employees in the form of shopping bags.
Bags, which were the effect of the project, do not have to be the only idea for using old clothes. In this way, you can also create, for example, backpacks or kidneys. An innovative use of unnecessary textiles can be production of furniture or interior decoration elements.