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UCPCYCLING CLOTHES TO AVOID THROWING THEM AWAY”
Does it make sense for a jacket that’s worn, holed or torn to end up in the waste bin? “The rationale behind the product life cycle is that it doesn’t stop if the product simply has a hole,” explains Vanessa Lappassat, Lafuma’s sustainability manager.
It is either repaired in the brand’s own workshops in Annecy or sent elsewhere. Puffas, packs and jackets that are beyond repair thus begin a second life in the workshops of Owl or East Camp, where they are turned into something different. New from old – like this clever handbag built from a puffa and climbing ropes.
“Owl cuts them up and makes iPad covers and zipped pouches. East Camp makes more elaborate products. Thanks to them, we’ve considerably reduced our waste – every year, we give them nearly 3,000 items! For the moment, it’s a small-scale operation and we’re not selling the resulting products. But we can envisage putting these upcycled products in our catalogue and selling them. The collection system is already in place, we’re almost ready to go,” says Vanessa. Consumers must simply accept that colours and materials will vary, according to what’s available. “It won’t be a standard collection – every single item will be unique!”
we offer workshops where people can make their own pack”
In-house, Lafuma already runs a modest upcycling programme, which has met with unexpected success. “We have unused fabrics and straps sent back from our own factories, so that they’re not thrown away, and we offer workshops where people can make their own pack. The patterns are designed internally, and every fortnight during the lunchbreak, Lafuma staff come and give a fresh lease of life to material that was previously bound for the bin.
These sessions are also a way to reconnect, scissors in hand, with the roots of the brand, which is one of the few to still have its own prototyping workshop, with all the requisite tools. “There’s a very long waiting list!” adds Vanessa. “As far as I know, we’re the only brand that does this.”
“All these activities are a first step to help us learn and be capable, in the future, of making upcycled products and selling them in our catalogue. We’re experimenting – it’s like a laboratory here!”
which is one of the few to still have its own prototyping workshop, with all the requisite tools.
We’re experimenting – it’s like a laboratory here!”