Clothing brand Patagonia has partnered with creative textile platform Makers Unite to open a new repair center in Amsterdam, offering clothing repairs for affiliated brands and their customers in a move aimed at diverting some 1m kilos of textile waste.
The new United Repair Centre (URC) is designed to encourage both brands and consumers to repair clothing as an attractive alternative to new purchases in order to extend the life of a garment and reduce its footprint. The facility aims for 300,000 clothing repairs per year, a move Patagonia and Makers Unite say will save an average of 1m kilos of textile waste, and encourage brands to make repair and reuse part of their business and revenue model. In addition to helping to tackle textile waste, the URC will provide employment to people with what Patagonia and Makers Unite calls a “distance to the labor market” for the next five years. From September the URC, in collaboration with House of Denim, will offer the United Repair Centre Academy where 300 students will be trained to become certified textile repairers with an immediate opportunity to work with brands.
“Structural change is needed in the textile industry. Patagonia, therefore, calls on brands not only to look at more sales but rather at stimulating reuse and being able to wear clothing longer through repair and recycling,” says Willem Swager, Director of Finance & Operations EMEA at Patagonia. “It should become normal for more clothing brands to offer this as a service and to see this as business as usual.”
Thami Schweichler, the Managing Director & Co-Founder of Makers Unite, adds: “The fashion industry is at the beginning of a new era. An era where repairs and other new services will make more impact. We are now tackling the fashion industry because something has to be done. For us, it is a unique opportunity to create valuable jobs and we do this naturally with people who are struggling to get a job.”