threads upcycle

Why Kanten includes upcycling in its project

What does upcycling mean?

Fast fashion has been the catalyst for a long-simmering problem in the textile industry. Over the past 15 years, garment production has approximately doubled, driven by the growth of the global middle class and rising per capita sales in mature economies.

The clothing industry is the second most polluting after the oil industry, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by today's more environmentally conscious generation. Where once the use of vintage, second-hand or second-hand clothing was considered "cheap", it is now seen as a commitment to sustainability. One way of being "greener" is to recycle clothes, and this is becoming so popular that it has become an industry in its own fashion. Clothing recycling involves taking old clothes, or materials that were destined to be destroyed or not valued, and transforming them into something new. Clothes that no longer fit, but also stained or otherwise damaged fabric rolls from old collections, can be remodeled into a new product.

Also known as reused or recycled clothing, recycled garments are becoming increasingly popular in today's fashion industry.

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The difference between upcycling and recycling

It should be noted that upcycling is not the same as recycling.

Upcycling means reusing the same fabric and transforming it into something else. For example, our coats, jackets and pants are made from upcycled fabrics, the scraps of the luxury industry. Most of these materials come from brands such as Dior, Hermes, Lanvin and Gerard Darel.

Recycling involves breaking down materials before reconstituting them into something else. This is generally done in two ways: mechanically and chemically. Our Fudo scarves for example, are made from recycled polyester. Mechanical recycling involves shredding a fabric, such as cotton or wool. The resulting fiber is then woven into a new fabric. Chemical recycling involves treating a fabric with a chemical and then dissolving it. The resulting fiber can then be blended with other fibers to make a new fabric. Recycling is resource-intensive and, in the case of chemical recycling, uses harmful substances to create something new.

Upcycling isn't as damaging to the environment, and doesn't use up other natural resources. Not to be outdone, there's also downcycling, which involves taking old clothes and, instead of making something better out of them, turning them into cleaning rags.

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Why bother recycling materials?

The current model of the clothing industry is extremely wasteful and massively polluting.

Today, monitoring organizations estimate that the textile industry contributes around 10 % of global emissions, more than shipping and aviation combined. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that it takes 20,000 liters of fresh water to produce one kilogram of cotton - enough for a pair of jeans and a T-shirt! With agriculture accounting for 70 % of total freshwater use, we can expect radical changes in this sector over the next 10 to 20 years.

The industry is essentially a conveyor belt, using huge amounts of resources and creating clothes that are only worn for a brief moment before being thrown into landfill. Recycling clothes is a way of breaking with the repetition of waste and environmental damage.

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Why recycling is the future

Many companies now focus exclusively on recycled clothing. And that's a big step forward.

The clothing recycling trend is gaining momentum just in time, but there's still a long way to go.
We take sustainability very seriously, and we know that the current system isn't working. Something has to change.

Upcycling is a small but important step towards this change. All the photos in this article were taken at our dead-stock supplier in the Paris suburbs. As you can see, there's plenty of material to develop many more products. This supplier is constantly replenishing supplies from the major fashion houses. This requires extra effort on our part, as we have to constantly restart the production of small series, as materials are not available on a continuous basis. Our pieces are therefore produced in limited editions, making them more personal, which you will keep for longer.

Contact Kanten today if you'd like to find out more about how we can help you and your business build a brighter, greener future.

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