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Tablecloths to trousers: Martan turns discarded linens from luxe hotels into chic attire

Luxury hotels have high standards, including for their linens. A stubborn stain on a tablecloth or a tiny tear in a sheet is unacceptable, and those minor imperfections lead to countless yards of high-quality fabric being thrown out before they're worn out. An Amsterdam-based fashion brand saw an opportunity among the massive waste. 

Martan purchases discarded linens from high-end hotels and crafts them into wearable pieces. Some fabrics are left white, some feature their original, woven-in jacquard designs, and others are dyed or screen-printed with bold patterns. Most are 100% cotton of a heavy quality, produced to feel deluxe and stand up to frequent laundering. The label's first hotel linen collection launched at Amsterdam Fashion Week in 2022, while its latest line hit the runway earlier this month.

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Upcycling is on the upswing in fashion, with numerous designers using deadstock or other leftover fabrics to lower their environmental impact. By definition, that makes it hard to scale up — each source of material is only available in limited quantities, after all. By tapping into the vast resource of hotel sheets and table linens, Martan can more easily expand manufacturing to meet demand, much like OG upcycler Freitag, which has been transforming truck tarps into bags for over 25 years. Other brands interested in repurposing waste: to ensure your efforts are more than window dressing or a one-off gesture, seek out those plentiful streams of discarded materials!

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom