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As part of its Ironclad Guarantee, outdoor brand Patagonia has long offered repairs. Its repair center in Reno, Nevada, is the largest apparel-mending facility in the US, while a network of fixers in Europe extend the life of around 1,000 garments every month.
To keep more gear going for longer, Patagonia has now opened a new mending location in Amsterdam: United Repair Center. What's novel about this hub is the 'united' part — in addition to Patagonia, other brands are encouraged to join in, making it easier for them to offer repair services to their own customers. Owners of an unintentionally torn pair of Scotch & Soda jeans, for example, can now have their denim fixed free of charge.
United Repair Center was developed in partnership with Dutch social enterprise Makers Unite, which educates and employs refugees, or 'creative newcomers.' In September 2022, the center is launching a course to train 300 students as certified textile repair technicians over the next few years, intending to grow its capacity to mend up to 300.000 garments annually.
From misleading claims to using sustainability as a marketing tactic, greenwashing is all too prevalent in the fashion industry. In the UK, fashion retailers account for a quarter of greenwashing complaints. But consumers and other stakeholders increasingly demand actual progress.
Offering repairs is an obvious way to turn good intentions into securely stitched actions, since the environmental gains from extended wear of an existing garment are greater than buying a new one that's manufactured sustainably. But the logistics involved with setting up dedicated mending services can be daunting. Which is why combined efforts like the United Repair Center make sense. Who can your brand partner with to demonstrate genuine, long-term commitment to sustainability?
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