The re-use-focused collaboration underlines how technology is central to the fashion circular economy, providing transparency and a new, direct-to-consumer communications touchpoint.

According to current legislation, all garments sold must have a physical care and content label to communicate product information, such as washing instructions and material composition. Avery Dennison’s Digital Care Label offers this information through a digital experience that showcases to consumers the sustainability story around the garment’s origins and where they can dispose of it.

Lifestyle brand UpWest is continually seeking ways to benefit the planet. As part of this mission, it began exploring how upcycling could extend the life of products, particularly its existing sweater inventory. In partnership with ReCircled, UpWest developed a collection of upcycled chenille items with Avery Dennison on board to provide the digital triggers and data connectivity essential to complete the circularity loop.

Consumers today are unsure what to do with garments at the end of life, because brands lack an easy-on garment way of educating them, Avery Dennison explains, adding currently many consumers remove the physical care label, while brands underutilise it. This increases the risk of the garment ending up in landfill rather than being resold, upcycled or recycled. In contrast, Avery Dennison’s new Digital Care Label helps advance the circular economy as recyclers and upcyclers can be confident of composition and resellers will be able to check authenticity.

Consumers can scan the QR code at purchase with Avery Dennison’s Digital Hang Tags and post-purchase via Avery Dennison’s Digital Care Label. Helping engage consumers, the QR code on these tags and labels is able to be scanned, with the digital experience outlining the item’s story in addition to guidance on garment care.

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“We wanted to combine both upcycling and new ways to interact with our consumers,” says Rob Smith, director production and sourcing, UpWest. “Avery Dennison provides a holistic solution that allows us to pique consumers’ interest, and is a game-changer in terms of giving us another route to share our story and our purpose.”

Scott Kuhlman, CEO of ReCircled, adds: “This collaboration is championing the digital technology that will truly support the circular economy in practical terms. As well as providing the end-to-end data visibility, Avery Dennison has extensive knowledge of the supply chain, and can track and collate item and materials data from the purchase experience right through the circular journey to re-use.”

The partnership is the second in a series of innovation-based collaborations that support Avery Dennison’s 2030 sustainability goals. Ambercycle, Avery Dennison’s first partner for its Digital Care Label, is an end-of-life textile recycler that creates garments from polyester destined for landfill. The collaboration saw intelligent care labels being attached to Ambercycle’s garments, with a QR code linked to an app.