In recent times, UK-based PANGAIA – once known as a “materials science company” now preferring “materials science brand” – has dedicated much of its time and many of its resources to creating lower-impact products. From collaborations with the Natural Fiber Welding using the U.S. company’s plastic-free, plant-based leather alternative, to the recent release of its “Reclaim” capsule collection, using 50% recycled cotton off-cuts, these efforts have mostly been focused on new products and new processes.
Now, though, PANGAIA is going a different way – encouraging consumers not just to buy better in the form of more progressive material choices, but, in a move that so many brands would baulk at, suggesting they buy fewer new products from its product offering at all.
Embracing a more circular business model, the London-located outfit is launching a new resale program – a digital platform dedicated to keeping waste low and putting an end to an artificial early death for products that are otherwise geared toward longevity. Revealed today, PANGAIA’s answer to the this is ReWear – described as a “first of its kind, digital passport enabled peer-to-peer resale platform as it seeks to address the complex challenges of creating a truly closed-loop apparel industry.” Which, we think it’s fair to say, is not only ambitious in its aspirations but also wholly necessary in its goal.
“PANGAIA is a pioneer in conscious clothing creation and this collaboration marks an exciting innovation in re-commerce, as it’s the first time EON Digital IDs are being leveraged for a branded peer-to-peer resale program.” – Emily Gittins, CEO and Co-founder of Archive
Partnering with Archive – “a technology company that enables brands to launch customized resale programs that drive revenue, brand loyalty and sustainability” – and EON, “the leader in Digital ID technology… [enabling] retail brands to turn simple products into traceable, intelligent and valuable assets,” the ReWear platform will use a digital passport system for instant authentication, allowing users to buy and sell PANGAIA products seamlessly and transparently.
Thinking toward the future, ReWear is destined from the offset to become more than a resale platform and, instead, evolve into something of a hub for PANGAIA’s circular mission – a one-stop shop for “rental services, repair programs, aftercare solutions, and a take-back scheme that channels non-sellable items into a network of recycling partners.”
In a statement accompanying the news, PANGAIA notes that “73% of materials used to create clothing worldwide end up in landfill or incinerated.” It’s a stark piece of data – not overblown or couched in any way; but it’s one that comes – as is customary with the forward-thinking brand – complimented by a sense of hope and some semblance of a solution. “It is widely recognized,” the statement adds, “that circular business models have a crucial role to play in minimizing the impact of the waste generated from the industry.”
And, in launching ReWear, the ideas is that by “giving its pre-loved apparel a new life… is working towards its vision to inspire and accelerate an earth positive future becoming a reality.”
From our perspective, it’s certainly a good place to start. But it’s also more than that – it’s a roadmap, at least a partial one anyway, for other brands to take similar initiative, forging partnerships and leveraging existing infrastructure to solve a problem that extends far beyond PANGAIA. Now it’s just a question of who decided to follow that map.