Through the TOP-atelier project (Textile Conversion Process Studio), the training fund of the Belgian fashion and clothing industry wants to build a professional production chain for the processing and reallocation of textile products. This was done on the basis of cooperation between various partners from the fashion and clothing sector, each with their own specific contribution and experience.
For example, we joined forces with various Flemish ready-to-wear clothing workshops that put their know-how and machinery at the disposal of designers, giving a creative reuse to textile waste flows. New possibilities were created and tested in practice and we also investigated which business models could make these ideas viable.
The results of this collaboration make clear which technologies, criteria and system adjustments are needed to give textiles a smooth, sustainable, high-quality and affordable repurposing.
During the workshop, we also focused on knowledge exchange and transparency. That way, everyone can learn as much as possible from each other. In order to pass on all this knowledge and allow everyone to benefit from the resulting know-how, a tool is currently being developed for the TOP workshop website.
Partners Creamoda vzw, Prospex Institute vzw, KOMOSIE vzw, DOEK vzw
TOP-atelier was an interesting first step towards upcycling. We discovered the possibility of making new, high-quality textile products from finished garments and of scaling up that process.
Now there is a particular need for further research to give clothing upcycling even more clout. It is clear that we still need to optimise and innovate in a number of areas. For example, we need new sorting criteria in the sorting process in order to offer a basic stock to the upcycling industry. The cutting process could also use further optimisation of hardware and software to reduce the cutting time.
Furthermore, it is important to build a larger network around upcycling within the industry in order to stimulate mutual cooperation, for instance through an interactive online map with all players in the sector.
In addition, we would like to focus even more on sustainability. We have already succeeded in raising awareness among consumers, and now we want to focus even more on sustainability among clothing manufacturers and suppliers.
Finally, we want to bring investors and designers into even more conscious contact with each other. This could encourage designers to focus not only on the design phase, but also on their business model.