The United Repair Centre (URC) London based in Haringey, offers an opportunity for other clothing brands to take part in the collective objective of promoting circularity.

URC London will employ individuals struggling to find employment, including those with refugee backgrounds and train them in the art of high-quality clothing repairs to both promote responsible consumption and aid marginalised communities.

Thami Schweichler, the CEO and founder of United Repair Centre emphasises the need for change within the apparel industry and says: “We must help customers keep their clothes in use for longer and practice conscious consumption in the future if we are to have a living planet to do business on. And now, with the launch of URC London, we’re making it easy for responsible clothing brands to join the growing repair movement.”

Haringey-based garment production company, Fashion-Enter will host URC London within its existing facility and oversee the technical repair training of the team.

This collaboration is also expected to prevent potential layoffs at Fashion-Enter due to key retailers moving production to cheaper facilities so it will protect 15 jobs in the UK as well as provide a gateway to the circular economy.

Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion-Enter highlights the historical significance of Haringey in British garment manufacturing and adds: “In the current market for cheaper production, we could not maintain our high standards of quality or our ethical standards. Now, we have an exciting collaboration to move into repairs.”

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Following the successful launch of the first United Repair Centre in Amsterdam in 2022, established in collaboration with Makers Unite, Amsterdam Economic Board, and Patagonia, URC London is the next step in this initiative.

Currently, the United Repair Centre Amsterdam performs around 30,000 repairs each year for sports brands like Decathlon, Lululemon, and Patagonia. URC London has set a similar target and aims to reach a capacity of 30,000 annual repairs by the year 2025.

URC London has received strategic guidance from the British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion and circular economy support from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Initially the centre will focus on providing repairs for Patagonia’s UK-based customers with three additional brands scheduled to join the facility within the next 12 months.

Alex Beasley, country manager for the UK, Ireland, and the Nordics at Patagonia says: “With the launch of United Repair Centre London, we are looking to dramatically scale our impact and empower other clothing companies to move away from disposability and waste, and weave circularity into their business models.”

Last month (October), Fashion and textile academics from the UK’s University of Manchester argued that sustainable fashion and sportswear needs a government focus as one million tonnes of textiles are disposed of every year in the UK with 300,000 tonnes ending up in landfill or incineration.