A Second Chance for Discarded Clothing
Imagine the life cycle for a piece of outdoor clothing. The item might get passed down or donated multiple times, but then what happens? Eventually, outgrown or slightly flawed outdoor clothing ends up in a landfill. When outdoor industry sourcing professional Nicole Basset realized this she wondered if there was a creative way to interrupt that path.
To understand Basset’s latest business venture to rescue discarded clothing, follow her career path. Armed with her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies (with a focus on sustainability), Basset joined the outdoor industry to satisfy her passion for environmental responsibility. Her resume boasts positions with leading brands like prAna, Patagonia and Specialized. Over the span of a decade she championed the introduction of Fair Trade apparel as well as integrated social and environmental responsibility into sourcing and production of outdoor clothing.
As part of her various jobs, Nicole visited hundreds of apparel factories all over the world. While the languages and cultures were different one thing was consistent -- millions of garments were being made. Basset finally asked herself: where are all of these clothes going after people are done with them? She knew that people cleaned out their closets and donated them, but what really happens to these clothes?
The landfill was the only answer. Until now. Basset, together with her business partner Jeff Denby, has started The Renewal Workshop, which focuses on a new circular system that results in a second chance for outdoor clothing. The Renewal Workshop refurbishes apparel from great outdoor brands. Why Renewed Apparel? Each item is formally renewed -- inspected, graded, repaired (if necessary), cleaned, labeled, and then sold. An industry leading warranty professional makes sure the renewed garments meet the quality standards of the brands.
And they are not only renewing clothing. They are creating jobs – they just opened a new factory in Oregon which is the first of many renewal facilities planned nationwide. After a successful fundraising effort on Indiegogo, Basset’s dreams are becoming a reality. And no broken zippers or missing buttons will stand in her way.
Nicole Basset, Co-Founder at The Renewal Workshop