Christmas is over. A new year looms. It is time for London Sock Company annual Sock Amnesty.
A chance for you to have a bit of a cathartic sock drawer clear out while also making a positive impact, the Sock Amnesty has seen LSC customers send in thousands of unwanted pairs over the years. Last year we started a partnership with The Reclaimery, whose amazing team upcycle and transform the socks into useful, warm items we then donate to Crisis UK to go those who are experiencing homelessness.
This year we are joining forces with The Reclaimary again. A brilliant organisation who are focused on ‘closing the loop’ of the clothing lifecycle, they are led by founder Juliet Herrera. Rather than throwing away items when they are no longer wanted, needed or need some TLC, the team at The Reclaimary revitalises clothing to give pieces a new life. With a mission to transform fashion into a more circular industry while supporting positive environmental and social change, The Reclaimery works with local London communities to give them the training and skills needed to upcycle and repurpose clothing into new, fashionable and wearable pieces.
We caught up with Herrera to hear more about The Relcaimery’s mission, how things have evolved for her team since last year and what’s on the horizon.
Here we are for a second year! Can you explain a little about the process of transforming the socks that our customers send in? How are they repurposed?
Over the last year, we implemented a standardised process that enables us to efficiently reuse old socks. The first step is where the socks are inspected and sorted according to their expected end-use, differentiating between socks for mittens and socks for neck warmers. In the second step, the socks are cut in two, with the leg and cuff being used for the mittens respectively neck warmers. In the third step, the heel, foot, and sole are converted into a kind of yarn used for knitting a broad range of products, including cushions, tapestry, etc. No material is wasted, even the leftovers are converted into a yarn.
Have there been any changes or updates at The Reclaimery since the last year?
We recently launched our digital platform connecting local crafters and designers with customers looking for customisations, upcycling, and tailoring of their clothing to enhance their fitting experience and help them fall in love with their new customised clothing and back in love with their wardrobe.
How big is The Reclaimery team now?
The Reclaimery community now includes more than 20 partners, including designers, makers, stylists, and artists. The management team has been further strengthened by adding an experienced CTO and a Finance Director. Also, an advisory team has been set up with senior professionals with extensive experience in relevant sectors, including the fashion and sustainability worlds.
Do you have any new focuses for 2023 and beyond?
For 2023, we planning a first external financing round to further develop and expand our Reclaimery platform. In the next five years, we want to become the leading digital fashion marketplace in Europe by providing unique, fitting and upcycling solutions for men’s and women’s clothes, ensuring improved wearability and extended product lifecycle, resulting in increased environmental sustainability and strong social impact.
Have there been any changes or updates in the wider fashion industry this year that has encouraged upcycling/ recycling? Are there any examples of positive changes taking place in the fashion world?
The second-hand fashion market has seen strong growth in the last few years and is expected to continue to grow at an annual growth rate of more than 20%, exceeding US$80 billion by 2028. This growth is driven by an increasing number of customers as well as an increasing number of purchases by each customer. In addition to affordability, selection availability, and item uniqueness, one of the key drivers of the growing popularity of the second-hand market is the consumers’ mounting environmental concerns. Also, according to a recent survey by a leading consulting firm, the existence of a growing second-hand market leads consumers to own fewer, better pieces of clothing; to reduce overconsumption of clothing, slow down fast fashion, and take better care of what’s in their closets.
Have you got any advice for someone looking to make a more positive impact and evolve their approach to fast fashion?
My advice is to reclaim and restyle what they already have in their wardrobe as the most effective way to save natural resources and protect the environment and the planet. By joining The Reclaimery community, a customer cannot only renew and refit their clothes and make them unique, but this is also the best approach to positively contributing to preserving the environment and empowering local crafters, artists, and communities.
Learn more about our Sock Amnesty here.
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