Wearable Collections is pure circular economy in NYC
The clothing recycling system created by Adam is designed for both consumers and brands
I remember many years ago, probably 2013, when a great friend of mine, Silvia, went to New York to do a Master in Design at Parsons School of Design, and came to know Wearable Collections. She saw on the street an open tent containing textile waste, took some pictures and sent to me. By that time, Silvia and I, both industrial designers, had spent two years trying to find solutions for textile waste in Brazil. But we could not imagine a solution like the one that a guy called Adam had created. I remember I sent an e-mail to him asking for more information and did an interview with him on my other extint website of ethical fashion, Moda Ética. Well, what did Adam create? A system to collect old clothes and textile waste in general. As far as I remember, he started it spontaneously, trying to solve another problem, personal, related to a friend, and then, he was riding a truck collecting weekly some trash that society did not want anymore. The destiny of all of this textile waste was to be recycled in order to produce new products.
This short history hides some concepts that were not fashionable at that time. Fifteen years ago, we did not have the concept of “circular economy” (so in vogue in Europe, for example), but instead, the some concepts in design like: “sustainable design”, “social design”, “system design”, “design for sustainability”, etc.
For six years of my life, I taught part of this at the undergraduation of Production Engineering, in Brazil, a course called “Product Development Process”. If we go deep in the literature of Industrial Engineering and Industrial Design (to use the common international names), we may see that since 1970 we have been talking about the same ideas, but changing the concepts. We created the idea of a general project (design) that can be customized according to some specifications. This was called Design for X, or Design for Excellence, DfX. In Engineering, it started as Design for Manufacturing (DfM) and Design for Assemblage (DfA). Then we had Design for Sustainability (DfS), Design for Supply Chain, Design for Service, Design for Quality, Design for Environment, Design for Maintainability, Design for Compliance, Design for Test, Design for Disassembly.
Some of these concepts became popular, some not. And I’m sure that the company fix in many of this ideas of how to design to create a better world, have more efficiency in the processes, etc.
So, when I received the newsletter from Wearable Collections saying that they are using the term “circular economy”, I was thoughtful. I understand that companies need to use the concepts that are fashion, popular now, in order to strategic dialogue with the current ideas and interests of society – although we know, those ideas are old (almost half of a century!), they just had another name/concept. This is a matter of strategy, of communication. And I’m sure the company is dialoguing with many other concepts that will be popular in the future because what they are doing is for the future of humankind. The business started for consumers (B2C – business to consumers) and since some time ago is designed also to other brands (B2B – business to business).
For now, I reproduce the newsletter.
As a decade comes to a close, it’s only natural to reflect and think about what has been accomplished the past 10 years. However, we are not in the mood for feeling nostalgic. We are full of excitement for what’s to come in the years ahead.
We have spent the past 15 years refining our collections strategy to not only divert clothes from landfills in a convenient manner but also to raise awareness and consciousness of the environmental issues that we face due to fashions’ impact.
One thing that this past decade has taught us is that change rarely happens as swiftly as you’d like it to. But we feel that change is about to accelerate in a big way and not a moment too soon. If you follow us you may have heard us drop the term circular economy.
For those of you not familiar, the circular economy would be a break from the traditional way we operate: design, produce, consume and dispose. In a circular economy products would be designed with end of use built into it so the materials can be re-introduced back into products for their next life. This would have not only come with tremendous environmental benefits but also economical benefits. It would place less pressure on natural resources and put people more in touch with the products they design and consume.
Not content to sit back and watch the circular economy develop at its own pace, we are utilizing our position as collections and recycling experts to connect the dots for our own circular solutions. We are not ready to announce yet, but please stay tuned as 2020 will be a year that begins the next phase of Wearable Collections evolution.
Let us state this loud and clear – Fashion Brands we are here for you! We know your strength is creating clothes that make us look and feel good. No longer is this enough. Consumers want to know what you are doing to minimize the environmental impact your production is causing – the labor that goes into its creation, the sustainability of the materials that you are utilizing, the energy that powers your plants, the water usage and what they can do when done with your products.
Those in the industry know there is more to it. Efficiencies are lost all around and brands are also left with residual inventory of samples, returns and damages all that can be put to better uses. This is where Wearable Collections comes in.
Please feel free to lean on our 15 years of expertise, creating convenient hubs of collections and efficient logistics to maximize utility of products and materials that you no longer know what to do with. We recognize that each brand has different ways they operate and goals to achieve. We will customize a solution for you. No load is too big or small. We promise the impact of starting down this path will be much larger that you can imagine.
Email us and we can have a program in place shortly firstname.lastname@example.org
More about textile waste:
- Redress transforms wardrobe waste
- Cotton rags from Vietnam
- Michelle Lowe-Holder: bijoux sustentáveis
- Triturador de tecidos e espumas
- Estopas e panos para limpeza industrial
- Melissa: crítica ao seu posicionamento de sustentabilidade
- DUARTE, Luciana dos Santos; CÂMARA, Tânia. Logística reversa e competitividade para os resíduos têxteis no polo da moda de Belo Horizonte. Anais do Colóquio Internacional de Design, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, 2015, pp. 372 – 386.
- DUARTE, Luciana dos Santos. Estudo comparativo do impacto ambiental do jeans CO/PET convencional e de jeans reciclado. Dissertação de mestrado em Engenharia de Produção, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 2013, 101 p.
- Image: HuffPost Greatest Person Of The Day: Adam Baruchowitz, Founder Of Wearable Collections, NY Clothing Recycling Company