Zero waste

At Texworld last week, the focus on sustainability was clear — or rather green. Check-in reveals the usual show materials and a leafy green pamphlet all-its-own denoting the sustainable highlights of the textile trade show, which included its “Textile Talks” programming series and a panel on upcycling.

The panel, “Upcycling: Exploring Options in Today’s Landscape & How Brands and Individuals Can Make a Difference,” covered everything from brand overstock, returns and textile recycling methods to the best way to design and market upcycled goods, so that the “cool factor” is evident.

Panelists included: Rachel Kibbe, cofounder of Helpsy, a large-scale clothing and textile recycler; Patrick Duffy, founder of Global Fashion Exchange, an international education platform on sustainability; Daniel Pinto, director of business development and strategy at Scoop, a Portugal-based manufacturer that partners with brands such as Calvin Klein, DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger; Rachel Lincoln, director of sustainability and product ops at Prana, and Nicole Bassett, cofounder of the Renewal Workshop, a certified renewal partner of Mara Hoffman and Prana, among others. The conversation was moderated by 0, a social good enterprise partnering with Vietnamese artisans.

“With the upcycling panel, it was important to talk about all the different organizations that have a piece of it,” said Eileen Small, market development consultant, fashion and apparel events at Messe Frankfurt to WWD. Organizing the panels, Small highlighted sustainability, trade and tariff information and trends as other peak interests for attendees.

“It’s an inspiring opportunity for all the attendees to feel they can make a difference,” she reiterated, mentioning the show is constantly evolving to move in step with the industry.

As Duffy addressed on the panel, a “negative stigma” can still exist around upcycled fashion, and upcycled fashion shows, and education is pertinent — to which Pinto agreed. Kibbe reiterated that “the re-commerce and upcycling trend — is not a trend,” nudging fashion brands to join the bandwagon.

In this case, like-minded collaboration, brand participation as well as education may be the first steps in scaling fashion’s upcycling initiatives.