Tesco launches recycled clothing collection

The news that Tesco have collaborated with an ethical fashion label to create a line of recycled clothing for the Florence & Fred label may raise a few eyebrows. So, perhaps, might the fact that the collection – just six pieces – is made from end of line Tesco stock which would otherwise end up in landfill, and is being produced in one of the most environmentally-friendly factories in the world.

The idea came from the supermarket giant after a visit to From Somewhere’s collection at Estethica, the London fashion week ethical fashion showcase.

Tesco’s plan is to recycle waste within its own supply chain while still keeping its fashion credentials. The clothes are being produced in a “green” factory in Sri Lanka – the first in the world to be awarded a gold rating for environmental responsiblity by LEED, the international green building certification system.

But while the benefits for Tesco are obvious – associating themselves with a commitment to environmental responsibility and recycling – why would one of the UK’s most respected ethical fashion labels agree to team up with a global giant not generally known a light carbon footprint?

The From Somewhere and Estethica founder and designer, Orsola de Castro, said she took the view that reclaiming and “upcycling” fabric should be made more accessible, and that any effort by huge retailers to take responsibility for their waste should be encouraged.

“Making the world’s second-biggest clothes manufacturer start to look at their own rubbish is the same. It looks odd, but it will become part of the norm. Of course, right now this minute it is more of a marketing excercise, but at least it’s a greenwash at 30 degrees – it will take a long time to make the industry take responsibility and truly improve.”

The collection itself is true to From Somewhere’s signature look, with body-con shapes and bright colours that will appeal to the teenage and twentysomething market. The prices, which start at £16, are attractive too.

Recent months have been tough for ethical fashion, with Ascension (formerly Adili) forced to suspend shares and subsequently being sold to an investor for a token £1. And while sceptics may frown at the collaboration, Orsola argues that anything that gets ethical fashion into the mainstream can only help. People Tree’s recent collaboration with the film star Emma Watson, for instance, brought an explosion in sales for the company.

This most recent collaboration also follows more recent efforts by Tesco to improve their green image. Last month, the company opened its first carbon zero store in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, and pledged to spend more than £100m with green technology companies..

You can read the whole article in The Guardian here.

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