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Second life for cashmere fashion items

Luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren has launched a recycling scheme for cashmere clothing for consumers in North America and Europe.

Developed as part of the company’s ‘Cradle to Cradle’ certification process, Ralph Lauren has formed a partnership with Italian textile recycler Re-Verso so that 100% cashmere items from any brand can be shipped to Re-Verso to be recycled. Since 24 January, customers have been able to request a printable, paid-postage label for the purpose.

Re-Verso has established a reputation for producing regenerated yarns and fabrics for fashion companies such as Stella McCartney and Patagonia.

Claire Bergkamp, chief executive of Textile Exchange, an industry group that helps to develop standards for fibre recycling, spoke to the New York Times about the challenge of few luxury companies embracing large-scale recycling efforts.

‘One of the biggest overall blockers to textile recycling is that the current infrastructure for getting products back in the system is not strong, partly because mixed material products are often all bundled together,’ she said.

Bergkamp believes the Ralph Lauren initiative is interesting because of the focus on a single material and the involvement of a recycler who knows what to do with it. ‘This means that there is a much higher likelihood that the cashmere here will actually be recycled into something of a high quality and value and given a new life,’ she told the NYT.

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