How Clothing Recycling can Help Grow your Brand

Recently, the discussion of circular economy has raised new questions when it comes to fashion. A traditional linear economy makes, uses, and disposes, while a circular economy seeks to finds ways to reuse, recycle, and regenerate materials & resources for as long as possible.


I’d like to introduce myself, Taryn Hipwell, as the founder of Beyond the Label. Our logo even shares messaging about reinventing the traditional linear fashion industry. The ‘O’ in ‘Beyond’ has an opening. What this stands for is ‘break the cycle’ and ‘close the loop’, which we talk more about in our guidebook, How to Shop for Shi(f)t.


Patagonia’s Recycled Polyester (previously Recycled Fleece) Program and a take-back program called Worn Wear, whichi is acknowledges as part of the “the repair economy”. This is great for students and people on a budget that want quality great that lasts. Why should other companies, people, or thrift stores resell Patagonia products when they have the means to fix and earn from items they originally created?

Additionally, Nike launched the Nike Grind (previously the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe) program which has been helping to grow the brands’ audience for years. These two programs have allowed shoppers and active people a way to recycle shoes and clothing. An example is the partnership between the Reuse-a-Shoe Program with the X Games.

Another example is Eileen Fisher’s take back program which resells items as reworn, renewed, and remade. Some of the prices are lower, with the potential to attract a younger audience.


Many large brands are seeking ways to reduce the waste produced by the mass amounts of clothing they make. I:CO offers a discount to shoppers who recycle clothing in their textile recycle bins at select stores. What’s interesting when you do some digging, some fashion brands that partner with I:CO often run other sustainable programs. One interesting win for I:CO’s textile recycle program is that cotton/poly blends are made into carpet padding. Am I a fan of unfair labor, clothes made to be tossed, unregulated dumping or the use of toxic chemicals? Nope. However, I will give a gold star to any company that chooses to reduce textile waste from landfills.

Written by Taryn Hipwell


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