Innovation That Matters

| Photo source United Repair Centre

Extending garment life by empowering refugee workers

Fashion & Beauty

A social enterprise makes it easy for brands to become involved in repair services

Spotted: Every year, the world generates 92 million tonnes of textile waste, and this figure is only set to keep growing, being forecast to reach 134 million tonnes by 2030. With the global fashion industry already responsible for 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste across the sector is increasingly paramount.

United Repair Centre is a social enterprise that’s working to tackle our textile waste problem, while also providing employment opportunities to some of the 35.3 million refugees around the world who are seeking work. The centres renew ‘pre-loved’ items, upcycle and remake worn textiles to create unique garments, and offer a sustainable repair service.

Brands that want to get involved in the URC’s repair scheme can create a customised programme and easily integrate the enterprise’s platform on its website. This enables customers to track how their repair is going, and access information about the tailor. Partnering brands, meanwhile, can access valuable sustainability data and deliver carbon savings by facilitating repairs.

At the same time, United Repair runs a Repair Academy, which offers training for anyone wanting to become a skilled tailor focused on repairs. The Makers Unite Foundation also offers workshops on garment longevity and repair, teaching others to upcycle and extend the life of clothing.

United Repair Centre is currently seeking €5 million in funding, with at least 50 per cent to come from local funds and strategic investors, and the rest to come from impact investors – with an emphasis on added value through networks, knowledge, and ecosystem support. The enterprise was also recognised as a ‘Coup de Coeur’ at ChangeNOW 2024.

The drive to tackle textile waste is receiving a boost from a number of recent innovations, including a circular leather alternative made from agricultural waste and a chemical process that recovers raw materials from textile waste.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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