Recycling Unsold Clothing Inventory - a billion dollar problem

Have you ever wondered what happens to excess luxury clothing inventory? In the glamorous realm of luxury fashion, there's a not-so-glamorous issue: excess, unsold garment inventory. 

As a result of fashion’s rapid pace and trend-driven nature that results in excess unsold stock - as well as a host of other negative environment impacts - the financial value of excess inventory held by luxury’s biggest players amounts to billions of dollars.¹ 

Why is recycling clothing so hard?

Clothes are incredibly hard to recycle because of their multiple components. Think fabrics made from a cocktail of different fibres and finishes, trims, buttons and hardware. Therefore, disassembling clothes for recycling is challenging - it’s  labour-intensive, time-consuming and costly and requires multiple recycling partners, from textiles, paper to plastic. 

Luxury clothing has even more challenges. Due to their highly IP-sensitive design details and high brand value, recycling unsold luxury garment inventory is extremely complex and requires extraordinary high brand protection and security. 

This is partly why in the past and still in the present some businesses have resorted to incineration of luxury fashion as the cheapest and easiest way to deal with unsold stock. 

Enter The R Collective - Recycling Complex IP Sensitive Garment Excess  

We recycle complex IP sensitive garments, and fabrics, which are often unsuitable for reuse due to their distinctive prints, logos or patterns. Working in collaboration with our luxury brand partners, we provide recycling solutions to accelerate circularity and reduce obsolete textiles and unsold clothing inventory.

It’s tough work. And it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. And someone needs to do it. So how do we tackle it? 

Step 1: Confidentially anonymising excess garment stock 

Working under stringent CCTV operations, we de-brand and anonymise garment stock by removing all branding, labels, hangtags and packaging. We then disassemble the garments, by removing branded hardware and trims, to save and separate distinct materials and textiles for recycling.

Step 2: Recycling the materials and creating Circular Products

We then recycle our separated textiles back to fibres, from which we spin and weave to create responsible corporate products, like totes and pouches, and packaging materials. 

Want to help us rescue complex waste? Have inquiries? Reach out to us here.


Want to know more? 

Discover more about R Textiles
Check out our R Products catalogue here.

¹ Business Of Fashion, (March 2024)
Banner image credits: Shutterstock


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