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Children’s brand Polarn O. Pyret stops making rainwear and wellies

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The Swedish clothing company has halted the production of rainwear and wellies due to a lack of sustainable materials. Customers will still be able to buy older lines in Polarn O. Pyret’s in-store second-hand departments, building its recycling credentials.

  • Polarn O. Pyret no longer sells rainwear and wellies made through its  traditional manufacturing process, deemed unsustainable.
  • The move is yet another example of how the fashion industry can take steps to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Circularity can protect companies against supply chain volatility and build credibility.

The Swedish brand, founded in 1976, has own-brand stores, concessions and an online shopping presence across Europe and the US.

Rainwear is not made sustainably

Polarn O. Pyret said its rainwear and wellies are not manufactured in a way that meets its sustainability standards, so it has stopped producing them. It is currently looking for a new method that fits its environmental targets to resume production in the future.

Customers can still buy rainwear in its in-store second-hand departments. Polarn O. Pyret buys back from customers thermal layers, coats, jackets, outerwear overalls and trousers, rain coats and rain trousers. It is working on plans to buy back all clothing it sells.

Even with the historical manufacturing process, the company’s clothes are intended to be passed down and reused, with a goal of each garment being used by at least three children. The brand offers free repairs of zips and poppers on its outerwear lines and 84% of its range is made of either recycled or eco-friendly materials.

Small steps to reduce fashion’s carbon footprint

Polarn O. Pyret’s initiative is one example of how clothing companies can reduce their environmental impact. The transformation of the fashion sector, which is worth $2.4 trillion and employs 300 million people, is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The industry is responsible for 2% to 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion. It consumes 215 trillion litres of water per year, while textiles account for 9% of annual microplastic losses to the oceans.

Given the environmental impacts of the clothing industry, addressing its resource using and finding new manufacturing models is going to be a key step towards managing those impacts.

The benefits of circularity

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, circularity in fashion means that products are increasingly being reused, made to be recycled or from recycled materials.

Major brands such as Patagonia, COS and Lululemon have developed second-hand marketplaces where they sell products bought back from customers, similar to the approach taken by Polarn O. Pyret,  

Buying second-hand garments can be more convenient for consumers as they save money and storage space. This is especially true for childrenswear, as they grow out of their clothes and shoes, so their wardrobes need to be updated regularly.

This practice can also help companies in times of supply chain volatility, for example if the fabric and other materials are challenging to source. It also offers a competitive edge amid the growing popularity of second-hand websites such as Depop, Vinted and Vestiaire Collective.

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