TopShop launched a new edition of its Reclaim sustainable fashion line last week, an ongoing effort that recycles old garments and excess material into new styles.
Now on its fifth line, the initiative — which first started in 1997 as part of the retailer’s partnership with environmentally friendly fashion company Reclaim to Wear — is continuing to focus on reducing textile waste. TopShop first began selling the clothes in 2012 in collaboration with Reclaim to Wear designers Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci, a duo that specialize in repurposing discarded clothing and excess fabric as new pieces.
Items in the latest collection range in cost from $35 to $125 and are available in select brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S., U.K., the Netherlands, Hong Kong and online.
“With all the environmental challenges we are facing, the fashion industry is looking for design solutions for the future. Sometimes, to be really innovative, you have to take the best from the past and bring it to the future,” Castro and Ricci wrote in the TopShop blog when the first line launched in 2012.
The collection is inspired by the ’90s, and pays lip service to doing good deeds with its “Call to Action Faction” slogan. The ’90s nostalgia play has been adopted this past summer and fall including Urban Outfitters, a TopShop competitor which launched throwback collaborations with Tommy Jeans, Calvin Klein, Wrangler, Fila and Adidas Originals. Urban Outfitters also has a recycled fashion effort called Urban Renewal, which selects clothing from vintage and flea markets and adds its own spin before selling it at a markup.
TopShop’s line also comes on the heels of Zara’s recent foray into sustainability. The brand launched its first ever environmentally friendly line, which includes garments sourced with sustainable materials. As part of the effort it implemented a series of recycled clothing receptacles at 300 locations across Europe, with plans to expand further. H&M has had a Conscious Collection line since 2012.
“It is a priority for us to minimize textile waste across all of our product categories,” Jacqui Markham, TopShop’s global design director, said in a statement.
Sara Radin, youth culture editor at WGSN, said the concept of recycling materials sets TopShop and Urban Outfitters apart from competitors like Zara and H&M, who are ultimately propagating waste and draining resources even if their products are sourced sustainably.
“A sustainable label is still creating more waste and using up resources,” Radin said. “A re-use label is smart because it goes one step further. It’s rethinking the entire production process to ensure nothing is wasted.”
Radin said TopShop’s efforts connect with consumers in a new way, and serves as an alternative to vintage shopping, particularly as shoppers start to turn their back to fast fashion retailers in an effort to find unique items made in a more ethical manner.
“There’s psychology behind it. I feel good when I buy vintage clothing,” she said. “A recycled clothing line is a big brand’s answer to appealing to young shoppers like me who have abandoned fast retailers to only shop vintage. It’s a way to bring them back into stores and show consumers they’re going one step further.”