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Product, Service & Design Innovation
ReKindness, Hubbub Creating Circular Model for Clothes Through Swapping, Upcycling

There are new options for Americans and Brits alike who want to “re-fashion” their wardrobes. ReKindness is an Atlanta, Georgia-based startup that is allowing members to swap clothes through its online platform. On the other side of the pond, environmental charity Hubbub is running events to help people learn how to repair and upcycle clothes and accessories, in addition to “clothes swapping boutiques.”

The ReKindness Community Closet officially launched earlier this month for pre-registered beta members, and already has over 1000 dresses, jeans, jackets, purses and accessories. Members upload photos of an item they are willing to give away and choose a credit value based on a scale of 1 to 5, from inexpensive to a “super premium” brand. Another member can choose the item and will pay for the shipping to have the item sent to them. The item donor will then receive community credits to “spend” on any item in the community closet, paying only the shipping and a small handling fee to keep the ReKindness site up and running.

ReKindness claims that the platform eliminates the two biggest painpoints of these types of transactions: negotiating and visiting the post office. The credit system replaces negotiation, since members only pay for shipping and handling. They have also integrated USPS priority mail service with doorstep pickup and delivery, removing the need for inconvenient trips to the post office.

“We strive to be a social enterprise by making a positive impact in the communities we serve and on the planet that so generously serves us,” said Melanie Kovach, Founder of reKindness. “Swapping isn’t just good for the wallet, it’s good for the Earth. Swapping clothes can help reduce the 21 billion pounds of textiles that are sent to US landfills every year.”

Meanwhile, Hubbub is bringing people together in person in the London area for various events that are promoting the same movement. The organization is focused on positive, sociable, collaborative initiatives that tap into people’s passions – such as fashion, food, homes and sports – to promote more sustainable lifestyles. In that spirit, they launched a new series of low-cost events to help people “re-invent” and repair their clothes, as well as running clothing swap events.

“January is the perfect time to learn new skills, to reorganise your wardrobe and fix up those neglected clothes in need of a little TLC,” Hubbub founder Gavin Ellis told edie. “These workshops offer a valuable opportunity to learn new skills to customise and update what you have and re-work your wardrobe for 2016.

“Whilst the January sale madness offers a fast fashion fix to some, others are experiencing a dose of the January blues. After Christmas, our wallets are empty and the likelihood is we’ve ended up with presents we don’t want or need. January is a great time to make new resolutions, to start new ways of doing things, and learn new skills.”

There are seven free clothing swapping events and seven by-donation or £5 repair and creative workshops scheduled in different London boroughs on the last two weekends of January. Most of the swaps are being hosted by Rags Revival, a Brighton-based “swishing” (second-hand fashion swap) company. The workshops are being run by various local designers, specialists, and clothing waste reduction charity TRAID, and are being offered thanks to a partnership between Hubbub and the North London Waste Authority (NLWA).

“It is estimated that £1,200 worth of clothes currently sit in each UK home that are completely forgotten about,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, chair of the NLWA. “These workshops will help teach you new ways to deal with forgotten clothing and teach you some skills which could help you transform them, reinventing your wardrobe which ultimately will save you money.”

Waste reduction charity WRAP is also trying to convince consumers to rediscover their love for their clothes, and is targeting clothing waste in 11 European countries through a €3.6 million project.


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