Rapanui hopes to set sustainable trend for fashion industry

Eco-clothing brand Rapanui has come up with a novel solution to the problem of 'throwaway fashion' by offering store credit to customers who return last season's clothes.

Customers’ old clothes will be recycled properly, with Rapanui building on a reputation of sustainability; making it’s t-shirts, tops and sweats from 100% certified organic cotton in a wind-powered factory.

“Our customers look forward to each new season but it seems a shame that our products end up unused in the wardrobe after six months,” said designer Martin Drake-Knight.

“It means there’s a conflict between fashion and the environment. We want to heal that and find a way for people to enjoy shopping, and fashion, without creating mountains of waste.”


A report from April this year suggested that many fashion brands were more concerned with public image rather than genuine sustainability, with 50% of them touting ‘green’ policies, but only 4% significantly reducing their greenhouse emissions.

By contrast, Rapanui are fully transparent in their production, having created a ‘traceability map’, which tracks the entire product supply chain from the planting of the seed, to the processing of the fabric, to transportation.

Rapanui co-founder Rob Drake-Knight said: “For us it’s just about finding a better way. If we can help customers out by saving them money, and it helps the company with return customers, great. But best of all it means that we have a chance to take control of our waste stream and reuse, repurpose or recycle.

“It’s another way we’ve proved that sustainability and fashion don’t have to be in conflict. All it takes is some creative thinking.”

INTERACTIVE MAP: Rapanui’s supply chain

Old Rapanui clothes can be returned in exchange for £5 store credit at http://Backtorapanui.com. No proof of purchase is needed, and the product will be taken in any condition.

Brad Allen 

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