How Fabric Banks are Helping the Fashion Industry

In Brazil, there is currently an effort to implement policies on waste management. With this policy change, which was sanctioned in 2010, the creation of the Fabric Bank for the fashion industry became a major tool. The Fabric Bank has been operating since 2015. It started with a stock of 800kg of fabric leftovers. It was accumulated over 25 years from a set and costume designer’s work. Initially, it was a tool used for fabric exchange between professionals. Ultimately, it developed into a social business.

One year into the operation, the initiative already had 150 account holders, including private individuals, fashion designers, and many more. Creating an account system just like a bank encourages the circulation of fabrics. Customers deposit fabrics, in any size or type, then the material is subsequently evaluated. All materials that are in good condition are washed, weighed, and stored.

The bank charges a fee of 25% of the weight of each deposit, then the remaining amount is credit that the user can put towards future withdrawals of fabric. For customers that do not want to make a deposit, they can purchase fabrics at a fixed price per kilogram. This demonstrates how the founder thought of fabric as a having a duel role of both product and currency. The bank offers traditional materials, in addition to exclusive and vintage materials that would not be found at traditional stores.

This platform offers an opportunity to convert materials that would have been waste into a valuable currency. It is useful for smaller sustainable clothing brands that focus on slow and sustainable fashion. The bank makes it easier for these brands to find secondhand materials, especially fabrics that are unique. The founder of the Fabric Bank highlighted that no matter how organized the fashion industry gets, there will always be leftover textiles. The concept of a bank that allows users to make deposits, withdrawals, and purchases of fabric attempts to solve this issue of unused, leftover materials.

Having fabric banks as part of the fashion industry is a useful step towards sustainable goals. We look forward to seeing how this idea can be implemented in other countries.

Information Gathered From: Green Biz

Image by: Karly Santiago (@sheslightning)

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