WAKEFIELD – Today's episode of Big Closets Small Planet casts an eye over two companies seeking to combat the vast quantities of waste the apparel and textile industries are responsible for producing.
Every week the series explores how individuals behind key initiatives and innovations in the fashion sector are working to deliver environmental progress. Today's interviewees represent Reverse Resources and Scalable Garment Technologies (SGTi).
With figures claiming that almost six million tonnes of leftover textiles – equating to 18 million new garments – are wasted in South East Asia and China every year, it is plain to see why innovation is needed to combat textile waste. If we could remanufacture these textiles and reuse them, or ensure we only produce what we need when we need it, we may be able to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of clothing production and support the transition to a circular fashion system.
This instalment explores the work of Nin Castle from Reverse Resources along with Ian Brown and Dale Floer from Scalable Garment Technologies. All three interviewees discuss their respective solutions for facilitating the transformation of textile waste into usable, and perhaps most crucially, valuable resources.
To combat what Castle describes as the “huge amount of waste in the textile supply chain,” Reverse Resources is seeking to develop software (free-to-use at its base level) to enable the circular economy, i.e. the recycling and reuse of textiles on a much larger scale than currently achievable.
The nuanced situation surrounding the sales of leftover fabric is also highlighted by Castle, offering a fascinating insight into what enables the low-cost, high-volume fast fashion industry to perpetuate its growth.
Data. Perhaps the most valuable commodity at every stage of the supply chain, and the ways to harness it, also forms a key underlying theme of the episode.
Onto Brown and Floer from Scalable Garment Technologies. The duo who met when studying engineering both have experience across a variety of sectors and bring this with them into a fashion world they readily admit to have “stumbled into.” It is their expertise which enables SGTi, through the application of computerised digital simulations and a new, seamless knitting machine, to avoid the tradition waste associated with making garments.
Whether it is called computerised, bespoke or on-demand apparel, the world in which computer- and data-led design is commonplace would appear to be nearing. In this first episode of series two, these three individuals - who may well prove key to the implementation of such a system - offer up a vision of how this could be realised.