TOKYO – Japanese department store operator Takashimaya will partner with 15 fashion brands to recycle used clothes to make brand new clothes while scaling up sustainability efforts.
Around 40 items will debut at Takashimaya’s high-end stores and its online store, with most of them being sold in the same price range as their conventional counterparts, including a priced winter coat. about 60,000 yen ($ 547).
The move marks one of the first large-scale recycling collaborations between retailers and clothing manufacturers in Japan. The partners are looking to expand the program to around 100 companies so that products can be mass-produced and costs are also reduced.
Takashimaya will start collecting used clothing from any manufacturer in its stores.
Among the objects collected, polyester products will be sorted to produce recycled resin, this work being carried out by the recovery technology specialist Jeplan. The recycled resin will be transformed into polyester yarn in a spinning mill operated by a Takashimaya business partner. Cotton, silk and other materials will also be transformed into renewable materials.
The recycled polyester will then be used for brand new products from brands like Mackintosh Philosophy by Sanyo Shokai and outdoor equipment company White Mountaineering.
Exploitation of recycled polyester will reduce the use of petroleum, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the refining process by 60%, Jeplan estimates.
That said, the recycling process does come with additional costs. But Takashimaya and its partners believe recycling can more than offset rising raw material prices for high-end clothing sold in their stores. They also plan to expand the initiative, inviting other fashion brands and popular designers to cut costs.
Efforts for a circular economy are gaining ground in the global fashion industry. US outdoor equipment company Patagonia has pledged to sell products made exclusively from recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2025. Swedish group H&M is touting a similar initiative.
In Japan last year, Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo put recycled polyester polo shirts on store shelves, but items using renewable materials that debuted in June have sold for around 1,000 yen more than clothing. conventional. The costs associated with recycled clothing remain a challenge.