Friday 2 August 2013

Upscaling Upcycling with Reet Aus.

Upcycling is a great way of reusing old materials in a fresh new way, but it has its problems. It's extremely labour-intensive, for one thing. It requires a lot of work to source, break down and retask the materials in question. It's not something that can be easily automated or scaled up to mass production, making upcycling a boutique, small-run solution.

That is, until now. Upcycling designer Reet Aus has just finished a series of trials with one of Bangladesh's largest textiles manufacturers, Beximco, that have proved that upcycling can be successfully scaled up, with massive environmental benefits. Brooke McEver of Beximco outlines the way that the collaboration worked:

"Instead of adapting the waste, it is more about adapting designs and systems to fit the waste materials themselves. By doing this we become able to up-cycle on a larger scale and make a larger environmental impact.

“Our trials started by analysing and researching the types and quantities of waste along with key sources they were coming from. Once we found a key area or type of waste that had the largest output, we tried to reshape the systems, collection methods, and sometimes even designs, in order to bring the waste back into production with as little cost and time as possible."

The results thus far have been impressive. Each garment in Reet's new collection uses nearly 90% less electricity and 85% less water than traditionally sourced garments. With the trials succussfully completed, Bexcimo are looking to partner with bigger brands that would be interested in putting sustainability at the heart of their business.

This is a major step forward. The energy savings inherent in industrial-scale upcycling will make the process an integral part of fashion workflow in the next few years. Reet Aus might have just changed the game for the better.

For more, check out the Reet Aus website.

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