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RENEW: Chemical and craft restoration of apparel products

Garments with full functionality are discarded at an increasingly high rate due to issues such as pilling, staining, colour fading and other signs of wear and tear. Extending the average lifetime of garments by just 3 months would lead to a 5-10% reduction in carbon, water and waste footprints in the clothing industry compared to a newly purchased garment.

ReNew proposed that classic wardrobe staples such as basic shirts, jeans and sweaters can be renewed rather than discarded once their look and feel is compromised. The aim was to prolong the useful life of these classic garments and prevent re-purchase of equivalent garments that use virgin materials. This meant tackling pilling, staining, colour fading and other signs of wear and tear. Gathering second-hand clothes from textile charity Traid UK revealed that the most common clothes being discarded rather than resold were basic white woven shirts and basic jersey clothing that had colour loss, staining, minor rips or missing buttons.

The process of renewal included applying a series of chemical and craft methods to remove pilling, colour fading, rips and stains. Enzyme technology was successful in removing pilling and minor staining. Other methods which proved successful were overdyeing garments to regain their original colour and applying sewing techniques such as invisible darning and subtly replacing garment sections which were severely stained, as well as strengthening weak points in the garments to prevent further ripping, increasing quality.

These solutions work within a circular product service system of garment renewal, involving customers returning used clothing to designers who apply various methods of renewal to the garment within a studio setting in order for it to be returned or resold.

PRODUCT SERVICE SYSTEM:

Designer creates good quality classic items of clothing

Customer purchases clothing, using it until the quality is compromised

Returns to the designer who renews the clothing quality

Customer receives the clothing back, using it until the quality is compromised

The ReNew project was explored at the ‘Big Do Making Lab’ at the Swedish School of Textiles and Science Park Borås, University of Borås. The focus was to work in line with the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to provide a longer lifespan for classic wardrobe staples that are otherwise continually repurchased, thereby reducing the use of virgin resources.

INITIAL RESULTS

 

 

 

Renew Methods:

  • Enzymes to remove pilling.
  • Strengthening weak points.

 

 

 

Grey hoodie split down the middle to compare the before (right) and after (left) of ReNew methods, 2019.

 

 

 

Renew Methods:

  • Enzymes to remove pilling.
  • Strengthening weak points.

 

 

 

Blue hoodie split down the middle to compare the before (right) and after (left) of ReNew methods, 2019.

 

 

 

Renew Methods:

  • Enzymes to remove stains.
  • Replacing stained parts.

 

 

 

Shirt split down the middle to compare the before (right) and after (left) of ReNew methods, 2019.

 

 

 

Renew Methods:

  • Enzymes to remove stains.
  • Replacing stained parts.

 

 

 

Shirt split down the middle to compare the before (right) and after (left) of ReNew methods, 2019.

 

 

 

Renew Methods:

  • Overdyeing against fading.
  • Strengthening weak points.
  • Darning holes and rips.
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Jeans split down the middle to compare the before (right) and after (left) of ReNew methods, 2019.

Garments are from Traid UK and Bjorkå Frihet.

The project is ongoing. Donate used clothes to the project HERE to see how they can be renewed!

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS
Installation in DoTank, Textile Fashion Centre, University of Borås, Sweden, 2020

PAST EXHIBITIONS
Slow Fashion, Nordstan, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2020
Textile Challenge 5, Lund, Sweden, 2020
Various company events in Textile Fashion Centre, University of Borås, Sweden, 2020
Future of Fashion, Swedish Embassy, Berlin, Germany, 2020
Textile Challenge 4, Stockholm Fashion District, Sweden, 2020
Smart Textiles, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Stockholm, Sweden, 2019
TEX4IM, The Swedish History Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, 2019
Exposé – Textile & Fashion 2030Science Park Borås, Sweden, 2019

PERMANENT COLLECTIONS
The Textile Museum of Sweden, Borås, Sweden (acquired 2019)