Patagonia and social impact firms launch London clothing repair centre

Fashion giant Patagonia has partnered with social impact companies to launch a new clothing repair centre in London that will provide jobs for those with challenges findings employment and train them on circular economy methods.

Patagonia and social impact firms launch London clothing repair centre

It will initially provide repairs for Patagonia’s UK-based customers, with three additional brands lined up to join the facility in within the next 12 months

The United Repair Centre London (URC London) opens in Haringey, London, today (2 November). The new centre will employ and train people with challenges finding employment, such as refugees. Training will focus on clothing and item repairs to keep products in circulation for longer.

URC London can perform 30,000 repairs a year by 2025. It is the result of a partnership between Patagonia and collaboration between social impact companies United Repair Centre and Fashion-Enter.

It will initially provide repairs for Patagonia’s UK-based customers, with three additional brands lined up to join the facility within the next 12 months. URC London will initially protect 15 UK jobs.

United Repair Centre’s founder Thami Schweichler said: “The apparel industry has a bad reputation for the harms inflicted on the environment, and the people who make our clothes – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

“We must help customers keep their clothes in use for longer and practice conscious consumption in the future, if we are to have a living planet to do business on. And now, with the launch of URC London, we’re making it easy for responsible clothing brands to join the growing repair movement.”

The Centre will follow guidance from the British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion principles and support from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that a bin lorry full of used clothing is landfilled or burned every second. Less than 2% of the clothes, shoes and accessories produced every year are recycled into new fashion; most that are recycled are ‘downcycled’ into products such as cushion stuffing and insulation.

URC London’s opening follows the success of a similar repair centre launched in Amsterdam last year. The centre was introduced as part of a collaboration between Makers Unite, Amsterdam Economic Board and Patagonia. The centre currently handles 30,000 repairs per year from brands such as Decathlon, Lululemon and Patagonia.

In July, Patagonia pledged to expand its base of professionals trained in clothing repair in Europe. it is aiming to fix 100,000 products per year by 2030, up from around 25,000 at present.

Having offered repairs via stores for several years, it launched a new online portal for the European market. The ‘Worn and Wear’ repair portal will enable customers to file a repair request 24/7 and to track the status of their request. Goods that can be repaired will be sent directly from customers to the right repairer. Patagonia has in-house experts and also uses a network of third-party experts.

Patagonia’s country manager UK, Ireland & Nordics Alex Beasley said: “At Patagonia, we’re in business to save our home planet. But we know we can’t do this alone. With the launch of United Repair Centre London, we are looking to dramatically scale our impact and empower other clothing companies to move away from disposability and waste, and weave circularity into their business models.”

In 2022, Patagonia made a seismic announcement to allocate all profits that are not re-invested back into the company to environmental causes. The company confirmed the creation of two new entities to hold its stock – the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective.

It is estimated that the projects supported through the Collective will collectively receive some $100m per year.

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