June 14, 2018 Old Apparel’s New Lease on Life
With an increasingly popular collection system for used apparel in place, Bergans of Norway had to decide what to do with returned clothing, besides repairing and reusing. Bergan’s solution? Redesign!
A woollen knit sweater, a onetime favourite for autumn evenings beside the campfire, – now lies forgotten in the closet with its elbows full of holes; a shell jacket, which has faithfully protected its wearer through countless adventures, is unused due to an oil stain on the front panel. Don’t we owe it to these old friends to give them one last chance to enjoy the great outdoors?
Bergans thinks so, and following the success of their national apparel collection system they now have enough material to feed their socially and environmentally responsible ReDesign project. Bergans’ Sustainability Manager Christoph Centmayer explains the idea behind it:
“ReDesign has two goals: The first of course relates to the environment and sustainable use of materials. After all, Bergans makes outdoor clothing and has a close relationship to nature. The other goal is to inspire creativity – not only for our employees but hopefully also for others out there as well.”
Foreign sewing expertise
With a steady supply of material, the next step was to source the competency required to produce these new products. These days, it’s hard to find somebody who knows their way around a sewing machine in Norway, where virtually all apparel is imported from abroad. Yet in every challenge lies an opportunity. Together with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, Bergans was able to partner with an employment training program including unemployed individuals and refugees with sewing expertise.
“These individuals didn’t come to us empty-handed, but instead many of them come as experts who are able to provide solutions that we actually need,” shares Christoph Centmayer.
In return, this partnership helps integrate members of groups who might otherwise be side-lined from the Norwegian workforce and society.
Socially-responsible, environmentallyproduced, great brand positioning as a sustainability leader: Bergans’ ReDesign is turning out to be a win-win-win. Items including wool phone covers, mittens, dog raincoats, reusable shopping bags and more can now be found at their flagship store in Oslo, where Bergans continues to demonstrate that its watchwords “Long Live the Product!” are not just empty words.
Bergans at OutDoor: Hall A5 / 302