How a designer is redefining the circular economy

“Repurpose” extends the life cycle of garments and sets new standards for sustainable practices. Find out all about Oliver Spencer's latest launch

Oliver Spencer Repurpose
Source & Copyright by Oliver Spencer

Author: House of Eden

Oliver Spencer has introduced one of the UK's first 360-degree circular fashion models - the 'Repurpose' model. This is a recycling concept for old clothes. The model aims to leverage the circular economy of resale and recycling and extend the life cycle of Oliver Spencer clothing. The goal is to minimize the brand's ecological footprint and create a renewed incentive to buy among customers.

The most important facts at a glance:

  • Oliver Spencer launched “Repurpose”, a groundbreaking initiative in the fashion industry to give garments a longer lifespan.
  • Since founding his label, Oliver Spencer has relied on ethical materials and production facilities. Repurpose’s recent launch highlights its commitment to sustainable practices.
  • “Repurpose” shapes the sustainable fashion industry in the UK and raises hopes for global implementation.

Oliver Spencer: Sustainable pioneer in the men's fashion industry

Oliver spenceris a designer and founder of his men's fashion label of the same name. He founded it in London in 2002 and has made a name for himself within the industry. Today he is considered one of Britain's best-known men's outfitters. His products are available through the Oliver Spencer online shop, its four stores in London and through wholesale partners. Right from the start, Oliver Spencer has placed sustainability at the heart of its business model. He focusses on ethically responsible and high quality materials and manufacturing sites, mainly in the UK and Portugal. He recently took another step towards sustainability with the circular initiative “Repurpose” and hopes that other companies will follow his example.

Oliver Spencer store

Source & Copyright by Oliver Spencer

Oliver Spencer's “Repurpose”: extending the clothing life cycle

What is the goal of “Repurpose”? With his new concept, Oliver Spencer aims to extend the life cycle of his brand's clothing and prevent them from being thrown away after use. Regardless of the condition of the garments, how new they are or can no longer be repaired, they should not end up in landfills, but also receive a valuable, new future through “Repurpose”.

The project started in November 2023 after being in the planning phase for over a year. Oliver Spencer customers can per recycling process submit up to three items, provided they are branded products. If you want to recycle more products, you have to start a new process. The recycling process can take place both in stores and via the online shop. For customers who choose the online version, the brand covers the shipping costs. The items of clothing handed in will be checked and then either resold, upcycled, reused or reprocessed by breaking it down into individual parts. This is done by the partner company Recomme.

In return, customers receive a voucher that they can redeem both in store and online. The value of the voucher depends on the type of clothing item and not its condition. The aim of this credit is to motivate customers to use “Repurpose” and to thank them for their responsible decision.

Recommend: Sustainable recycling process for Oliver Spencer's 'Repurpose' garments

Oliver Spencer outsources the actual recycling process to Recomme. Founded in 2023, the white label platform specializes in the recycling and resale of clothing and handles the practical part of “Repurpose”. Recommend one transparent traceability for the discarded clothing items.

Repurpose

Source & Copyright by Oliver Spencer

The clothing items handed in are transported to Recomme's storage facility and assessed and sorted on site based on their condition. Depending on the condition and the materials from which they are made, the development of the products at the end of their life cycle can take place in different ways. They are divided into the following categories:

  • Garments suitable for reuse or resale, with or without repair.
  • Garments made from pure material or individual fibers that are unsuitable for reuse or resale. These often involve materials such as cotton or wool. They are pulped, decolorized and spun into new yarn. New clothing is then produced from this.
  • Garments made from mixed materials that are unsuitable for reuse or resale. These are donated to various educational institutions to be used in creative projects.
  • Shoes that are unsuitable for reuse or resale. They are broken down into their individual parts and recycled separately. For example, rubber soles are becoming new soles for sneakers processed or introduced into artificial leather production.
  • Accessories that are unsuitable for reuse or resale are either downcycled into faux leather or upcycled into new products.
  • Other hardware such as zippers and buttons are separated from the garments and find new life in various other applications. They are used in garment repairs, new product samples, or future production runs.

Outlook and globalization of “Repurpose”

Oliver Spencer's revolutionary approach with the “Repurpose” model shapes the sustainable fashion industry in Great Britain. The initiative to extend the life cycle of garments while creating a valuable new future for them is receiving positive feedback from customers and industry observers.

So far, “Repurpose” can only be implemented in Great Britain, but the possibility of expanding internationally remains exciting. The hope is that this pioneering approach to sustainable fashion will be made available to other countries in the near future. A global implementation could make a significant contribution to reducing Oliver Spencer's environmental footprint and pave the way for further innovative initiatives.

With “Repurpose”, Oliver Spencer not only sets standards for the industry, but also inspires circular economy advance worldwide. The vision of a more sustainable future could thus extend beyond the boundaries of its brand, supported by a growing awareness of environmental responsibility and sustainable consumption practices.

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