Reducing material consumption and waste generation are recognized as critical measures necessary for addressing the increasingly unsustainable ecological footprint. In Iasi, there is no initiative aimed at reconditioning and reselling goods, no community recycling centre and no store specialized on green products. Moreover, in Romania, there are no initiatives in fashion and textiles industries that use redesign, upcycling or that approach slow fashion principles. The objective of the project is to develop a green enterprise that produces, distributes and sells goods obtained through reusing, reconditioning, redesigning and up-cycling. As well the business idea aims at capacity building for sustainability having a triple bottom line approach: people, planet, profit. The eco-business idea integrates several components: upcycling and reconditioning second hand clothes collected from the community, creating a line of eco clothes and accessories through redesign (through the competence provided by the Norwegian partner) and upcycling waste materials by creating green products.
Summary of project results
Through the support granted by Norway Grants they have refurbished and equipped a workshop located in the very city center of Iași where the collected materials are being sorted into categories, cleaned and either improved through reconditioning or transformed into new products through redesign and up-cycling.10 Collection centers have been established in this respect. Four categories of green products have been created in the workshop and are advertised under the online shop at www.redu.org.ro:
Repurposed/Upcycled – it is about those products that have been created out of old textiles and old clothes that cannot be reused: reusable bags made from men’s shirts, wall organized made from blue jeans, reusable sandwiches packaging, kitchen ware (aprons, mats for hot dishes, gloves, bicycle cobs, women bags or waist bags, Christmas decorations, accessories and other, totaling a number of 1018 new useful up-cycled products. Re-designed – represents the leftovers of materials collected from local factories which are being used for creation of new pieces of clothing through redesign. Three redesigned collections have been created during the first year with the coordination of our partner and friend Lisbeth Lovbak Berg, totaling 120 pieces of redesigned clothes from preconsumer waste. Re-used – most of the part of the products collected is being further donated to disadvantaged people and the best products are being cleaned, repaired if needed and reconditioned and sold in our concept store as second hand products. Recycled – inspired by a grass roots organization from Norway - FREDENSBORGER – that fundraised over 100 000 euros for projects in Sub Saharan Africa by selling recycled t-shirts, we have recycled old T-shirts that we have collected by re-branding them with new messages through print screening; Reusing materials instead of using virgin materials is decreasing substantially (a factor of about 30 fold less) the impact on the environment on many stances: energy & water needs, transportation, use of chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, deployment of fossil fuels. Further explanations about the need and the challenge approached by the project is explained here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZqKPRmDHEM&index=5&list=PLb91M…
Summary of bilateral results
The main partner of the project is L-L-B, a reference in slow fashion and a top ten Norwegian designer. The association with Lisbeth contributed both to the image of the project and to its development (through consultancy and direct guidance and coordination received as well as through the inspiration in the field of building sustainable practical solutions to the social problems linked with the fashion / textile industry). For the last year she has travelled 7 times to Romania and spent over two months in the REDU workshop, coordinating and training the team in creating three redesigned clothing collections. In terms of innovation, our project was a pioneering one at national level, being the first one to approach slow fashion and sustainable production of textiles.