The first fully recyclable “circular” blazers are now in production through a partnership between schoolwear supplier David Luke and the Circular Textiles Foundation (CTF).
David Luke’s bestselling eco-blazer has been reimagined in five subtle but critical ways to ensure it is suitable for the recycling process when it reaches the end of its life.
It follows last autumn’s announcement of David Luke’s partnership with the CTF which provides an independent circularity standard for genuine accountability and transparency.
The process to make the eco-blazer fully recyclable has been under way since September. It has also involved Project Plan B which designs, manufactures and recycles clothing at the end of life to provide circularity.
The new fully recyclable blazer will start to filter into David Luke’s supply chain in the spring, costing the same as the existing eco-blazer range.
Ryan Cooke, product manager at David Luke, said: “Working in collaboration with the Circular Textiles Foundation, we have been reviewing the design and make-up of our iconic eco-blazer to identify the steps we need to take to make it a circular garment.
“In order to manufacture circular garments, we need to design clothes which are made to be remade whilst ensuring the price of the garment doesn’t change.
“Consultation from the CTF and Project Plan B has enabled us to transition our blazers into mono-fabric recyclable garments, compatible with thermo-mechanical recycling processes.
“The key areas of the school blazer that we needed to rethink or remove were the lining, swing ticket, brand label, zippers and pockets. The new circular blazer will appear unchanged at first glance, but the impact of these changes will enable the garment to be fully recyclable.
“At the end of life we feed the blazers into a thermo mechanical recycling machine which converts the fabric into PET pellets. At this point PET pellets move into conventional manufacturing, supporting the circular principle of keeping raw materials at their highest possible value in the manufacturing chain.”
Recyclable clothing differs from recycled clothing which has simply been made from previously used materials. This can include garments that have been repurposed or upcycled as well as clothing made from recycled fibres such as recycled polyester.
Recyclable clothing is made specifically to be recycled at the end of its life – a garment that produces no waste material because every component will re-enter the supply chain.
Recyclable clothing is designed to be broken down and used again, preventing the garments ending up in landfill, while recycled clothing – unless designed to be recycled again – will inevitably end up in landfill.
Ryan said: “Designing clothes for circularity is important because it addresses the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry and provides a more sustainable model for fashion production and consumption.”
David Luke School Uniform, part of The Parently Group based in Manchester, announced the partnership with the CTF as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations in 2022.
Pictured: David Luke product manager Ryan Cooke with the new fully recyclable eco-blazer