To stop the growing negative impact of the textile industry, clothing brands can now join the URC. In addition, the organization will offer employment to people at a distance from the labor market over the next five years. From September, the URC will start a training course in which 300 students will be trained to become certified textile repairers in the coming years. The parties involved have been brought together by the Amsterdam Economic Board. A consortium of Dutch investors with a focus on social impact supports them.
Repair as a solution
Thami Schweichler, Managing Director and co-founder of Makers Unite: “The fashion industry is at the dawn of a new era. An era where repairs and other new services will have a greater impact. We are now tackling the fashion industry, because something has to be done. For us it is a unique opportunity to create valuable jobs. Naturally, we do this with people who are struggling to get a job.”
Responsible textile industry
The URC wants to encourage both brands and consumers to repair clothing as an attractive alternative to new purchase, in order to extend the life of the garment and reduce the footprint. The repair center aims for 300,000 repairs per year, saving an average of 1 million kilos of textile waste. Brands that join the URC implement the repair service in their business model. Besides Patagonia, the Dutch clothing brand Scotch & Soda has also joined the URC. For the brands involved, the implementation of repair can also play a role in meeting the extended product responsibility for textiles that will apply in the Netherlands from 2023.
Willem Swager, Director of Finance & Operations EMEA at Patagonia: “Structural change is needed in the textile industry. Patagonia therefore calls on brands not only to look at more sales, but also to stimulate reuse and to be able to wear clothing for a longer period through repair and recycling. It should become normal for more clothing brands to offer this as a service and consider this business as usual.”
Industry with impact
In the past twenty years, Europeans have started to buy an average of 40 percent more clothing, which means that the textile industry is now responsible for 10 percent of global CO2 emissions. If nothing changes here, the worldwide use of water (79 billion m3 per year), CO2 emissions (1,715 million tons per year) and waste production (92 billion kilos per year) will have increased by more than 50 percent by 2030 since 2015 and still double by 2050. Within the Amsterdam metropolis, 36 million kilos of textiles are discarded every year and only 7% of this is reused or recycled in the Netherlands. Because repair extends the useful life of a garment, this has an immediate positive impact. Wearing a garment for nine months longer reduces the CO2 emissions of that product by 27 percent, water consumption by 33 percent and waste by 22 percent.
This is how the United Repair Center works:
- The consumer buys a product from a brand affiliated with the URC.
- Over time, the product needs to be repaired due to use.
- The consumer contacts the brand, which ensures that the product ends up at the URC.
- The URC repairs the textile product.
- The product is returned to the consumer and can be used again for a long time.
From September 2022, the United Repair Center in collaboration with House of Denim will offer the United Repair Center Academy for people with a distance to the labor market. During the training program they are trained to become a certified clothing maker and they immediately have the opportunity to work with major brands.
About Makers Unite
Connecting makers, uniting people.
Makers Unite was founded in Amsterdam in 2016 as a textile manufacturing company. In her creative collaborations, she wants to encourage others to participate and take a step to change the world view about migration. Makers Unite does this itself by stimulating the creative talent of newcomers with a refugee and migration background, through workplaces and a training program that focuses on the social and practical skills needed to enter the Dutch labor market.
We are in business to save our home planet.
Patagonia is a company that sells outdoor sportswear. It was founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard and is based in Ventura (California, USA). The company is a Certified B Corporation and is internationally recognized for product quality and environmentalism – and its contributions of more than $145 million in financial support and in-kind donations to date. Patagonia has also been making films for years to raise awareness about saving nature and supporting communities in need. Since 1985, Patagonia has given 1% of its sales to organizations committed to preserving and restoring the climate.
Learn more about Patagonia’s activism.