Power To The People

Written by Christina Dean

You must have been living under a rock if you didn’t notice last week’s Global Climate Strike, where four million people united to form the world’s largest climate protest in Hong Kong, London, New York and in other far-flung cities in Kenya, Pakistan, and the Falkland Islands - and more. These protests were staged as world leaders delivered their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - by 45% over the next decade or so they claim - at New York’s United Nation’s Climate Action Summit.

Fashion is on the chopping board 

Fashion - which contributes around 10% of global carbon impact - deserves its place on the climate change chopping board. Fashion’s huge carbon footprint is an outrageous price to pay to look good and to have more and more clothes. So where do we - The R Collective - sit in this heated global debate?

Arizona Muse attends the Youth Climate Strike with her son wearing The R Collective x Lia Kassif Upcycled Quilted Bomber Jacket.

We make clothes fit for the future 

We know that ‘consuming’ new fashion is not ‘going out of fashion’ anytime and we appreciate that some people really love the creative joy associated with finding, styling and wearing ‘new’ outfits as a way of self-expression. So creating ‘new’ clothes is part of our future, along with an armoury of sustainable closet behaviours, including shopping less and wearing more.

The R Collective’s clothes are fit for the future that we want to live in. Our upcycled designs inspire a slowing down of fashion’s cycles and are designed to live with you for seasons to come. We work unbelievably hard to rescue unwanted fabrics to put back into the circular fashion system - instead of allowing beautiful fabrics to go to landfill, incineration or for downcycling, like being made into cleaning rags or furniture stuffing. Every year, 92 million tons of textile waste is generated by the industry¹ and around 100 billion new garments are produced². That’s why we are hell-bent on putting waste back into fashion. 

Cayce Jacket by The R Collective

A typical The R Collective jacket, like this Upcycled Cayce Jacket, has a 60% reduced carbon footprint compared with a similar jacket created using virgin materials, according to estimates provided by RESET Carbon.

Power to businesses and consumers 

But with escalating concerns from the public that not enough is being done fast enough to reduce carbon emissions, there is growing consensus - and now new evidence - that we have to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions as makers and advocates of circularity in fashion.

Cue The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new Climate Change report. Let’s get the bad news out of the way; greenhouse gas emissions are not falling quickly enough to achieve climate targets and even switching to renewable energy can only cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55%. The good news: the remaining 45% of emissions come from how we make and use products, and how we produce food, which means that businesses and everyday people and businesses - really - are part of the solution.

Sustainable fashion design. Photo by Redress.

Photo credit: Redress

We must reduce fashion’s environmental impact through creativity and design. It is estimated that 80% of a product’s environmental impact is created at the design stage³. To combat these issues, we transform how fashion is made by using our waste-reducing techniques, like upcycling luxury excess materials and striving for zero-waste designs.

To think that climate change is merely a ‘concern’ is a gross understatement. It is, instead, an urgent ‘crisis’. And with crisis comes creativity and we are excited to be working with you on proving that fashion can be a force for good. 


Global Fashion Agenda & The Boston Consulting Group 2017.
²McKinsey, 2016.
³Global Fashion Agenda & The Boston Consulting Group 2017.

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