L’upcycling, ou l’art de faire du neuf avec du vieux

Upcycling, or the art of making something new out of old

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Upcycling at Hast: common sense in the service of responsibility

On an international scale, the impact of the textile industry constitutes a social, health and environmental drama. Behind this disaster? The unscrupulous production of raw materials, the polluting and energy-intensive processing of fibers, the transport of finished products, the maintenance of clothes and even their waste.

At Hast, this situation saddens us as much as it alarms us, which is why we have made the strong choice to place responsibility at the heart of our identity.

Since 2012, we have favored natural and recycled raw materials, worked with European partners and made sustainable and timeless clothing locally. On the subject of waste, we have chosen upcycling to recycle fabric scraps from the production of our pieces , and it is to this process that we are devoting today's article.

The life cycle of the products in question

As a brand, the question of the life cycle of creations seems absolutely crucial to us. In fact, it is impossible to claim eco-design if the clothing route is not known, controlled and optimized.

Before anything else, it is therefore important to keep in mind the trajectory common to all textiles (with the exception of the sixth phase which is, for its part, more random):

Source: ethicsnetwork.org

To be credible, any ambition for responsible production must therefore be accompanied by measures to reduce the impact of each of these stages. At Hast, this thinking has permeated our strategy for more than ten years, and we strive to prove it to you every day . As examples:

  • We have achieved 100% natural and/or recycled materials in our collections (most often organic and labeled).
  • We produce 95% in the European Union.
  • We try to reduce our CO2 emissions as much as possible by producing as closely as possible to demand with ever more responsible methods.
  • We were the first French brand to use compostable packaging and recycled cardboard.
  • We have introduced recycling terminals in store to allow our customers to drop off unused pieces (Hast or not) in order to transform them into recycled fabric. The goal is to promote the principle of circularity.

In a word, and while cultivating an authentic passion for beautiful clothes, we aspire to produce ours as accurately as possible. Upcycling, obviously, is part of this commitment.

Upcycling, a definition

To be honest, the manufacturing stage always involves a loss of material . In practice, we cut pieces of fabric/knit from fabric panels to assemble them and give shape to the clothes, which necessarily leaves some residue. Upcycling is precisely the requalification of these residues.

In fact, we reuse these scraps to make other pieces, which avoids waste while maximizing the use of the high-end materials that we select. As a result, the quality of the upcycled product is in no way degraded: it is the same resource, simply reassigned to another mission.

Unlike recycling, which consists of processing waste to recover the material and manufacture a new item, upcycling is more about “reuse”.

Let's take a concrete example: remelting and remoulding a glass bottle to make a jar of jam is recycling. Using an empty glass bottle to make a vase or candle holder is upcycling (or in French, “surcyclage”).

To put it simply, recycling focuses on the reuse of product material, while upcycling focuses on the revaluation of the product itself.

Upcycling according to Hast

At Hast, we see in this art of diversion a way of linking business with pleasure. To fight against waste and take full advantage of existing materials, we have made several resolutions in favor of upcycling:

  • Then, we sometimes find what we are looking for from suppliers of so-called “dead stock” fabrics. Residue from old collections, these rolls of material constitute dormant stocks and sometimes hide real treasures. On the occasion of the capsule collection published for our 10th anniversary, we, for example, found our red selvedge at Nona Source , the resale platform for exceptional materials from the LVMH group Houses (Louis Vuitton, Dior, Céline, Givenchy , Loro Piana, Loewe, Fendi, Givenchy…). A way to make the most sublime materials accessible to you, without mobilizing the slightest gram of CO2 for its manufacture. And for good reason, the fabric that pollutes the least remains the one that already exists. With this in mind, we will not fail to repeat this experience to make certain pieces in the future.

    Furthermore, other forms of upcycling exist and seem interesting to us, even if we do not yet exploit them (in-store repair service, creation of patchwork clothing, sharing of “Do it yourself” content, etc.). With the modesty and humility that have characterized our eco-design approach since 2012, it is likely that we will look into it in the near future to perfect our model , with the unchanged ambition of controlling our impact and optimizing the the use we make of our materials.

    Accuracy at the heart of our ambitions

    As we write these lines, the textile sector is one of the most polluting in the world, mobilizing alone 4% of the drinking water available on the planet, emitting more than a billion tonnes of gas greenhouse effect annually and allows the consumption of 130 billion items of clothing each year.

    Fast, disposable and generally unconscious, fashion has disastrous consequences both socially and ecologically. For Hast, committed since its creation to a greener and more responsible industry, working to clean up each stage of the life cycle of a garment is not an option. In addition to the care we take in sustainable production, upcycling constitutes in this regard a relevant means of controlling our stocks of materials and reusing scrap materials.

    To tell the truth, it's a method that we love to the point of thinking more and more seriously about a 100% upcycled capsule collection. In this regard, we advise you to keep your eyes open: this is a project that could see the light of day more quickly than you imagine...

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