Unique parts made with textile waste? The students of Tecnológico de Monterrey, Sara Kalach, Kristal Bolivar and Ana Alonso, saw in the patchwork of used fabric and garments the possibility of creating WasteNotWaste. Your own sustainable clothing business.
The Mexican startup bases its business on circular economy. Its goal is to take advantage of the fabric to be able to recreate unique pieces and sell them through e-commerce. Thus they not only give a second life to clothing, but contribute to reduce the environmental impact, caused by the clothing industry.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), clothing and footwear production produces 8% of greenhouse gases and every second a quantity of textiles equivalent to a garbage truck is buried or burned every second.
This sector is responsible for 20% of total water waste globally, as it uses 93 billion cubic meters of water per year, the body says. Enough for 5 million people to survive.
Kalach recalls that to create their first collection of sustainable clothing they invited the student community to donate clothes they no longer used. The result was the recreation of 15 unique garments, including dresses, blouses, jackets and a jumper.
The young woman recognizes that it is difficult to raise awareness of the importance of reusing used garments. “Most believe that used clothing is dirty or does not have the same quality as a new garment. We want to break that paradigm and make, if a person has four jackets in their closet, at least one of them is sustainable,” he says.
It’s an ambitious goal. To achieve this, the co-founders are focused on creating capsule collections, that is, small collections that stand out by a characteristic element. In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, they launched a range of 100 jackets made of denim in various shades of blue and pieces of shirt fabric. Each cost 1,000 pesos and included a water cover, made with the same manufacturing process.
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Usually when a designer creates a garment they first make the strokes and then look for the fabric. WasteNotWaste works the other way around, first collects the fabric and based on that designs the garments. “We seek to create a pattern, in which different colors and textures can be added to the same piece. They are then tagged and offered on social media and brand website,” explains the entrepreneur.
Today, the three entrepreneurs already have an agreement with shirt, sack and jeans factories to obtain textile waste. And through Instagram and Facebook, young women invite people to donate garments that they no longer wear, but which, due to some damage, is unworkable to give away for their review.
The brand also has a space on the sideboards of the Komorebi Concept Store. The expectation for this year is to enter more physical stores, throughout the Mexican Republic. Only in themed and artisanal shops that combine with the theme of sustainability.
But Kalach mentions that the business model will continue to rest on digital channels, as they bet that the same people who donate their clothes dare to redesign it on the brand’s website. Today, co-founders are working on their digital platform to ensure that the design and customization process by users is as easy as possible. The intention is for people to participate in the initial part of the manufacturing process.