The most sustainable garment is the one already in our wardrobe.

This is the wise recommendation of Orsola De Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution, the world’s largest fashion activism movement that mobilize citizens, brands and policy makers to build a global fashion industry to preserve the environment and value people more than profit.

A fair fashion system, willing to conserve precious resources and regenerate ecosystems, shall by the way promote a reasonable exploitation of the environment, safe working conditions and decent living wages for all people in the supply chain. That means just to care of the garments we own.

In this context, “care and repair” practices are essential to suggest a new cultural model where mending, reuse and sharing are a standard and we, as consumers, are encouraged to wear our clothing for longer and slow down our consumption.

Just some years ago, garments were designed to last and the person who bought them appreciated this longevity. Recently, with cheap clothing now abundantly available, fashion has become disposable, and waste is prevalent in every part of the industry, as a result of overproduction, overconsumption and problematic end-of-life solutions.

We can estimate around 80 billion of new fashion items in the market every year. Who will wear them? Do we really need them? And will we dispose them?

We should go back to the art of mending, make our clothes last longer, even resell or rent them if we occasionally wear them. Fundamentally, mending is a radical act of care in a fast fashion system that thrives on carelessness.

Once we admit that repair is fundamental to make the system more sustainable, we shall implement it on industrial scale to generate a real impact. So, repair must be part of brands’ value proposition, with different options:

  • Brands offer repair service because they want consumers to keep their garment for a long time, appreciate their value and invest more willingly in quality garments.
  • Brands offer rental service because they want consumers to try them on and maybe eventually decide to buy them. And of course, they must repair.
  • Brands, in general, are concerned with offering sustainable alternatives because they want consumers to share their values and sponsor them.

Repair is a recommendable practice, but if we want the whole system to become more sustainable, it must be implemented strategically, on industrial scale.

Logistics can contribute to industrialize mending and offer flexible and scalable repair solutions: both in standard reverse logistics by quality control, selection and reconditioning and in more complex solutions with rental, resale and recycle options


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