Have you ever wondered what happens to your old clothes after you throw them away? It’s not glamorous. Like most garbage they’re simply shipped off to a landfill to rot. The EPA estimates each of us throws away 70 pounds of clothing every year. With textiles occupying 10% of landfill space and growing, this is a bad trend. The good news is many of the fabrics used to make clothes are biodegradable, though it can take up to 200 years for this to happen. Circular Fashion Los Angeles is a startup keeping clothing out of the landfill by helping pre-loved garments find a new home. They’ll even help you repurpose that old jean jacket.
A Sustainable Passion
It’s no surprise Los Angeles is where Circular Fashion LA (CFLA) founder Karri Ann Frerichs, her family and her business call home. Frerichs’s passion for sustainability in fashion began earlier in her life, but with CFLA she is finally putting her ideas to work. Founded in 2019, her company champions the practices of the circular economy to disrupt the current linear business model of unsustainable apparel production. Simply put, CFLA was founded to help curb the problems facing the planet caused by the apparel industry.
More Than Reselling Clothing
For those with aspirations for the circular clothing economy, ventures often start with an online store selling used garb. CFLA is no different, though they go beyond simply selling used clothing. Like many resellers, Frerichs and her team promote the circular economy through resale while finding additional ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Every aspect of their operation is focused on it, even down to the paper they print on.
One particular way CFLA shines is through producing their own line of unique apparel. They call it the Zero Waste Capsule collection. Every piece of fabric that goes into their creations is rescued, as they call it, and reused in the new garment designs. CFLA’s team source garments through various means and produce everything locally in Los Angeles. They create small batches to reduce carbon emissions, and never outsource to low wage laborers or assembly line factories. Frerichs passion is sustainability, but also to support her local economy.
CFLA’s long term goal is to work with cities, universities, brands and the up and coming new recycled textiles market. They hope to spur industry adoption of circular business practices and Product-as-a-Service sales models. Frerichs views this as paramount to reduce landfill waste, plastics pollution of our oceans, and reduce our dependence on virgin raw materials (plants, animals, oil, minerals) in order to reinvent the industry for the health and longevity of our planet.
UpCycling Old Clothing
Much of the world is becoming acutely aware of the damage we’re causing the planet through our continuous overproduction of apparel. 30% of all new clothing is never sold, and approximately three fifths of apparel ends up in landfills or incinerators within one year of production.
Circular Fashion LA is, as they say, adding new value to old clothes through upcycling. Upcycling is different than creating new garments from used threads as mentioned above. The upcycling methodology adds new flair added to existing clothes. As seen in the denim jacket in this post, the colorful splotch was added to the back of a jacket and is now available for resale. Purchasing an upcycled garment is the one true way to assure you’re getting a one-of-a-kind garment you’ll never see anyone else wearing. As individuality in fashion continues to thrive among young generations, we at Tailored see upcycling growing to new heights.
A new study shows most of us don’t wear at least 50% of our current wardrobe. We mix and match the same items week after week while other items collect dust. CFLA helps you restyle old clothes into new, exciting items you’ll want to wear week after week. They do this by offering a literal wardrobe makeover package called ReDesign. Simply let them know you’re interested in their service and they’ll start by sending you a recyclable shipping container. Stuff the clothes you want CFLA to redesign in the box and send them off.
Of course fit preference and style are a large part of what makes this service special. CFLA spends time with their customers early in the ReDesign process to make sure they get it right. They provide a fit and style questionnaire as well as multiple web tools to allow customers to take measurements of their body and their best fitting clothes.
The team at CFLA takes the data obtained from a customer, along with the clothing they sent in, and goes to work. Depending on the customers desires, CFLA will create new garments from their old fabrics or upcycle. What customers receive in return are well fitting garments that are one-of-a-kind and match their style perfectly. Most items that are part of ReDesign, upcycle or offered for resale can be had for under $100.
Why Circular Fashion Los Angeles Uses Capture
With automation technologies quickly replacing mundane, human labor across all industries; fashion is dying to get in the mix. The industry is notorious for employing little automation and for using low-wage labor in developing nations.
The clothing resale market is no different. The major bottlenecks occur when it comes to getting product online. In resale, clothing must go through much of the same process as when it’s new, such as quality checks, measuring, and photographing. Though instead of 5% of garments going through this process as when they’re new, 100% of resale garments must. This is because each garment in the resale market is a one-off.
Each year, hundreds of millions of man hours are spent measuring clothing by hand. It’s a major hurdle for resellers, but it must be done. “We needed a quick way to measure each of the clothing items we sell. One of the hurdles of selling resale, vintage or one-of-a-kind clothing is sizing. Tailored helps us remove that roadblock by measuring the clothing with one photo.” Remarked Frerichs.
When asked about CFLA’s desire to offer Capture as a customer facing tool, Frerichs pointed to the challenges resellers face. Specifically in helping their customers feel confident they’re making the right purchase. “Offering accurate product descriptions is one key to sales success in the online world of resale and upcycled clothing. Tailored reduces the time and effort needed for each product to include detailed garment measurements so our customers can shop with confidence.”
Tailored is a technology company built on AI. Their patented machine learning, named Capture, analyzes images of clothing to extract product data. More specifically, Capture automates garment measuring and data entry tasks. This enables apparel retailers to improve supply chain efficiency. Additionally, Capture is the only scalable technology that uses a single photo to collect fit data from garments a consumer already owns. Tailored exists to help retailers in both traditional retail and vintage improve their bottom line while becoming more sustainable. If you are interested in learning more about Capture, reach out to us here.