A Sec­ond Chance for Dis­carded Cloth­ing

Backpacker - - PLAY LIST -

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

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