This week, Ralph Lauren Corporation announced a comprehensive circular fashion strategy that furthers its commitment to “Design the Change,” the company’s internal framework for citizenship and sustainability. This sweeping plan is built on three pillars: design with circularity in mind, establish circular experiences for its consumers, and advance a circular product economy.
Over the course of the coming years, Ralph Lauren will establish resale and recycling options for its consumers, as well as scale technologies that keep materials in use. Additionally, the Americana pioneer is partnering with McDonough Innovation to achieve “Cradle to Cradle” certification — a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular fashion economy — for some of its most iconic products.
“The spirit of timelessness has been core to Ralph’s creative vision for more than 50 years, and our circularity approach reinforces our belief that Ralph Lauren products should not only endure the test of time, but have endless lifecycles,” said Patrice Louvet, President & CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation.
Representing the first pillar, designing for circularity, Ralph Lauren plans to make five “icons” Cradle to Cradle Certified™ by 2025. These “icons,” like the timeless polo shirt, are made year-round and represent some of the brand’s best-selling products. The company will then work to bring those circular design principles to other key product categories.
“For decades, Ralph Lauren has set standards for innovation and been a visionary in American fashion,” said William McDonough, chief executive of McDonough Innovation and co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. “Through this new strategy, Ralph Lauren is setting another benchmark as they embrace their authentic ethos of timelessness and create products designed to be reimagined in perpetuity.”
For the second pillar, establishing circular consumer experiences, Ralph Lauren will continue to build Lauren Look, its first subscription-based rental program for the Lauren Ralph Lauren women’s line. The company plans to offer more circular experiences for consumers beginning in 2022 through the launch of a product collection service that will support resale and recycling options.
Finally, with hopes of advancing a circular product economy, the RL Corp. will continue to invest in scalable technologies that will elevate the quality of recycled materials. This includes furthering its partnership with the material innovators at Natural Fiber Welding, who just announced a 100% plant-based leather collaboration with Allbirds. Moreover, by 2025, RL will introduce 100% recycled cotton across its portfolio of products.
As one of the biggest brands in the global fashion market, Ralph Lauren still has much to do in the name of sustainability. These commitments however are just the latest steps to be taken by the company. In 2020, RL joined the G7 Fashion Pact, a global coalition of companies in the fashion and textile industry committed to stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity, and protecting the oceans. This followed the launch of 2019’s Design The Change program, which serves as the brand’s an internal framework for citizenship and sustainability.
Speaking of circularity, read why Nike and select retail partners are launching a shoe drive this month.