Wednesday, September 27, 2023

This clothing brand wants its old clothes back to make new ones

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Shreya Christina
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for days do you want old clothes. And they are already changing some of them into new ones. It’s a circular model that Kristy Caylor, founder of For Days, wants to see scale.

In recent days, For Days has been popping up in cities across California, inviting everyone to bring their unwanted clothing of any kind to their drop-off locations. At many of their stops, they partner with local businesses, such as Pressed Juicery in Montecito or Humblemaker Coffee in Ventura. And people can enjoy a drink while participating in the recycling event.

Since textiles still end up in landfills, For Days works with various recycling materials that specialize in textile waste. This is to ensure that the so-called “garbage” does not end up in another landfill. Instead, it’s sorted to see what’s reusable and what needs to be downcycled – turned into insulation, batting or stuffing, rags, or other uses that don’t require high-quality fiber.

In addition to collecting clothing from any brand, For Days likes their own customers to bring in their used For Days clothing, which can be easily converted into new t-shirts, sweatshirts, and pants through the company’s supply chain. Because For Days mainly uses natural materials, they have designed their products with circularity in mind, Caylor says. For example, if we are going to add a zipper or a decorative element, we need to know how it will be disassembled. (Zips are notoriously difficult for mechanical recycling.)

But simple cotton-based designs can be easily reused by their recycling partners in Morocco. For Days chose this location because of its proximity to the production facility. “Because they are close together, we don’t spend any extra energy sending them.”

The closed fashion brand has gone through a number of iterations: it started as a subscription service with the idea that customers could just return old t-shirts and then get a new one to keep everything in the loop with one brand. But customers said the subscription model wasn’t ideal. Since then, For Days has provided store credit in the hopes of lowering the cost of buying a new one when the old one wears out.

“Most of what we see coming back is a lot of really used clothes. There may be a shirt in a trendy color or seasonal color, but most of it are staples, like old white and black T-shirts, that people use every day.”

Caylor reports that the company has converted 11,000 pounds of post-consumer waste into new garments through mechanical recycling.

Yet For Days is still a small team of only 14 full-time employees. However, Caylor hopes to set an example of what brands can do to provide a more closed process for shopping and throwing away. They have already helped brands like Bombas, maisonette, Package-free shopand cariuma build similar take-back programs.

When asked whether it is the business or government’s job to provide better recycling facilities, she replied, “I think it’s a combination of both, collective action will help.”

If companies can design with circularity in mind, which isn’t happening across the board yet, disposal and recycling facilities can process and reuse more waste. So much of today’s clothing is made of blends, or has a high percentage of spandex, or stretch, making it difficult to recycle.

“But the take-back approach is also good for business as it keeps people in the system and connected to a brand, which is helpful,” she says, acknowledging that circularity can have benefits.

In addition, campaigns such as the California Take Back Bag Tour For Days provide an opportunity for their customers to meet and interact with the community, which, according to Reagan Marelle Begley, who manages the company’s social media, is important in today’s digital world. Begley goes to cities across the US from Texas to Tennessee to New York, hosting more pop-up recycling events for the brand. Caylor says For Days will continue to do them, and as often as possible to make recycling clothes easier.

While they have a mailer for $20 that customers can buy, fill, and return, Begley notes that some people may not want to pay, or have too much stuff that won’t fit in a bag. With some consumers showing up at the stops in California with bags full of clothes, Begley is excited about the interest in recycling. She proudly displays bags of clothing collected that day during a stop in Ventura, California

Begley basically runs her own recycled denim brand, Hargan Denim, which she started as a hobby and has now grown into a small business that she mainly does on the weekends. It explains why she is so passionate about her day job at For Days. “This is the future of shopping and fashion,” she says.

For Caylor, the mix of affordability and circularity is the ideal combination. With her previous company, Maiyet, the price points were higher and it wasn’t built around staples. Instead, For Days is centered around clothes that everyone wears – and so eventually needs to be thrown out and replaced. While it’s not as cheap as high street brands, and probably never will be due to the added cost of producing organic cotton and delivering a circular model, Caylor argues it’s walking the line carefully, always keeping in mind that sustainability is accessible. should be for as many people as possible.

To date, For Days estimates that it has removed more than a million pounds of clothing from landfills through its take-back program.

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