Field: Textile waste and recovery
Global Technical function: Collecting, Recovering
Technical Function Unit: Private equity funding for development, demonstration, and commercial exploitation, Upcycling
Geographic Area: United Kingdom

Creation of useful products from waste textile materials in collaboration with corporations and textile designers

Worn Again is a textile upcycling start-up, which works with corporations to develop innovative ways for recycling textile waste and creating new valuable products from the recycled material.

The challenge

On average, consumers in the United Kingdom send 30 kg of clothing waste per capita to landfill each year. The total clothing waste stream amounts to around 2 million tonnes per year in the UK. Worn Again began as a start-up company to identify possible solutions as regards the large amount of clothing waste going to landfill. It works with corporations to collect useful clothing waste which is later turned into innovative products in cooperation with designer companies. This model provides a creative solution to textile waste and recovery in the UK. 

The innovation

Worn Again develops innovative new products created out of clothing waste, and connects relevant market players such as new product developers and corporations who have an interest in the field. Worn Again began when Clark shoe empire asked Cyndi Rhoades, the creator of Worn Again, to start a shoe line with its ethical footwear company Terra Plana.  Worn Again used suits obtained from Oxfam (a UK-based charity organisation), prison blankets, and ex-military parachutes, to design this new line of shoes.

For the next recycling project, Worn Again contacted Virgin Atlantic and got used seat covers to make a range of shoulder bags. It has also worked with Hemmingway Design to create the UK’s first closed-loop recycled uniforms for McDonald’s. In accordance with each organisation’s core areas of expertise in zero-waste textile design, Hemmingway Design focuses on finding innovative design solutions for McDonald’s uniforms, whereas Worn Again manages the logistics. This includes re-collecting used uniforms and reprocessing these into raw materials to be used when making new uniforms.

Why did it work?

Worn Again is based on private equity funding for demonstration and commercial exploitation. The company business model aims to close the textiles loop by forming partnerships with corporations and designer companies in order to identify solutions for zero-waste textiles.

Further deployment

Worn Again works together with selected big corporations and clothing designers in the UK to jointly discover solutions for recovering and reducing textile waste by closing the clothing loop. The maturity of this eco-innovation is estimated to be beyond 9 on GML scale. 

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