RE-RUNN, one of the budding circular economy textiles businesses resident in our Preloved Studio, has launched during Circular Economy Week.
RE-RUNN are a sustainable and circular fashion start-up, producing one-off leisurewear garments. They work in partnership with local charity shops in Merton, buying sweatshirts and hoodies that have been donated but are unsellable, or damaged. RE-RUNN then reimagine these clothes by reworking them into a brand-new item. Their partnership with the charities continues after production, with 10% of RE-RUNNs profits from sales of their clothes going back to the charities.
What is a Circular Economy?
ReLondon, who host Circular Economy Week, explain the importance of building a circular economy as part of climate crisis mitigation,
“To avert the climate emergency we need to reduce our consumption-based emissions – which means we need to reduce waste, increase recycling and improve resource efficiency. We could make a massive reduction in emissions by transforming how we make, use and dispose of ‘stuff’ – we need a global shift to a circular economy.”
Merton Council’s Climate Strategy and Action Plan towards reducing the borough’s emissions to net-zero by 2050 highlights the need to move to a circular economy. The Wheel project was initiated to support this transition, and our Preloved Studio and its residents are wonderful examples of how circularity in textiles businesses can work in Merton.
A New Circular Model for Fashion
Positive Fashion report that the fashion and textiles industry is the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases globally. Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production approximately doubled worldwide. Meanwhile, the number of times a garment was worn before it was thrown away declined by 36% (Ellen Macarthur Foundation, 2017). This Fast Fashion model is not sustainable.
Research by WRAP found that extending clothing life has been identified as the single largest opportunity to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing in the UK. Circular business models offer a clear pathway for disrupting the linear operating model that fashion and textile industry currently works to.
“By increasing the number of times an item is worn and keeping clothing in circulation for as long as possible through services like rental, repair, resale and upcycling, the industry can replace the need for new clothing production and avoid the associated environmental impacts, while remaining profitable and serving the needs of a growing consumer population.”
Slow Fashion in Merton
In contrast to Fast Fashion, RE-RUNN’s production model is Slow Fashion. They re-manufacture (upcycle) faulty and damaged garments, using the material and components, rather than them being discarded, or sent for disposal. This creative process also provides opportunities to upskill and reskill their small team in design and manufacturing.
Sakina O’Neill, owner and founder of RE-RUNN said,
“The environment and our local community are at the heart of our business model. We believe in the creation of new products, from existing products. The fashion industry is a wasteful one, and we want to help prevent items from becoming landfill and pollutants in other countries by extending the life of a garment. At the same time, creating meaningful jobs, providing employment, training, and mentorship opportunities for local people.”
With the high environmental cost of producing new fabrics and garments, it’s more important than ever to reduce textile waste. RE-RUNN is a great example of a sustainable fashion brand right here in Merton saving valuable used materials and bringing them back into circulation.
Their first clothing collection is due to be unveiled next week (5th November), but if you head over to their website now, you can sign up to their newsletter to receive 10% off your first order with them.