Blog: Leonie BarrieRepair, re-use, but don’t replace

Leonie Barrie | 28 October 2009

I have to admit my first thoughts when I heard that Lands’ End had launched a free repair service for its garments were 1: doesn’t anyone know how to sew on buttons any more? and 2: companies will do anything in the name of sustainable fashion these days.

But I stand corrected. Lands’ End, it seems, is in step with the move away from disposable fashion, and the team of seamstresses assembled at its Rutland headquarters has a key role to play in reducing the mountain of clothing sent to landfill each year.

Lands’ End’s clothes come with a lifetime guarantee, and the firm now promises to mend and return items within two weeks, tackling everything from missing buttons to blown seams and broken belt loops.

The new service comes as the UK government is continuing to put pressure on UK high street retailers to tackle the environmental impacts of our fast-fashion culture.

In February the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) launched its Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, aimed at reducing the 2m tonnes of clothing that is sent to landfill each year.

And at a recent RITE Group (Reducing the Impact of Textiles on the Environment) conference in London, sustainable fashion expert Kate Fletcher highlighted the current shift to finding ways of making money but not by selling in the traditional way.

“Instead of selling more units to consumers you...get those units to work harder or help consumers wear those units for longer,” she said. “So you shift maybe from just selling goods to offering a repair or styling service” to help prolong the life of a garment.
This move to disassociate making money and “making more stuff” is one of the biggest and most interesting challenges we’re all facing.


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