Uniqlo turns old jackets into new ones

Ad banner presenting the RE.UNIQLO retail collection
Image: Uniqlo Japan

Uniqlo launches a circular clothing line: the Japanese fashion chain collects worn items and turns them into new clothes. First up: the down jackets the brand is famous for.


"The ultimate recycling model"

Uniqlo presents its own circular clothing collection, called RE.UNIQLO. As ‘Re’ stands for ‘reuse’, ‘recycle’ as well as ‘reduce’, the brand's new fashion line aims to do just that: the Japanese retailer asks customers to return worn clothing items to its stores, after which they are recycled into new garments.

“We have more than 2,000 stores around the world, and we can solve social issues (such as environmental destruction) by collecting products that our customers no longer need at stores and recreating them into new products”, Masahiro Endo, social communications director at Uniqlo's holding company Fast Retailing, explains to Charged Retail. “We will create the ultimate recycling model in our supply chain with the cooperation of our customers, and as a result, we aim to reduce resource usage, carbon dioxide emissions, and waste.”


620,000 jackets

This autumn, however, the initiative will start with only one product: a down jacket based on old down coats. Moreover, RE.UNIQLO will initially only be available on its Japanese home market. The company points out that a lot of effort goes into the collection and recycling before "new" recycled garments can hit the stores: in the course of one year 620,000 coats have been collected for the Japanese market alone, as the collection will make its debut there on November 2nd. The down needs to taken out andis reused in a new design, developed especially for the sustainable fashion line. 

For next year's items, a new down collection is already starting in 21 countries, which should allow RE.UNIQLO to be available worldwide in 2021. For a limited time, customers who bring clothing to the brand's stores will receive a discount voucher. Earlier, in 2006, Uniqlo also launched an initiative to collect lightly used clothes and donate them to refugees or other people in need.