Approved by curator
Added: Sep 20, 2022
Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
To address the problem of unused textiles being wasted, This is Unfolded introduced on-demand clothing production. Reducing production costs and collaborating with customers, this company leads the shift to the slow fashion industry and empowers communities in India.
In the traditional textile retail business, 30% of newly produced clothes are never sold. Instead, new unsold items are sent to landfills or destroyed, contributing to the ever-rising problem of textile waste.
This is Unfolded is a small UK-based clothing brand that addresses the problem of high clothing return and disposal rates by producing fashion items only after they were ordered by customers. This is achieved by creating seasonal clothing collections, typically consisting of 14 to 25 items. Collections are released in batches and are available for a couple of months. The business model works as follows: From the day when an order is placed, it takes approx.4-6 weeks for it to be produced and delivered to a customer. If a customer is not satisfied with her order, she can swap it within the brand community instead of returning it to the producer. Waste is also avoided by managing surplus materials consciously: Surplus materials are used to make face masks or donated to local traders to produce rugs.
As on-demand production allows to save costs, a part of revenues is donated to Pratham, a big Indian education charity. Moreover, the company created a Worker Fund to pay additional wages to factory employees and closely monitors the working conditions of its suppliers.
Additionally, This is Unfolded invites customers to co-create its new collections and uses customers' feedback to learn and improve.
So far, This is Unfolded managed to achieve a clothing return rate of less than 3% (in comparison to the industry standard of 30%), a returning customer rate of 40% (in comparison to the industry standard of 26%), provided 379 workers with higher wages, and supported more than 3500 Indian children in education.
Importantly, This is Unfolded doesn't claim to be a fully sustainable brand. The co-founder admits that the road to sustainability is a long path and they have just started embarking on it.
Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/TS--uNw-JqE)
Non-toxic materials and inputs
Own brand second-hand sale
Second-hand sale, distribution
Peer to peer sharing
Sale of durable, long-lasting goods
Design for minimal waste
Design for resource efficiency
Customer dialogue, marketing
Peer-to-peer online marketplaces
Reduce Emissions (SDG13)
Reduce Material Consumption (SDG12)
Minimise Waste (SDG12)