When it comes to sustainability, China has historically been a laggard. The country is well known as the largest emitter of CO2, and rivers such as the Yangzte are main sources of ocean plastics. But things are changing: The Chinese government has set ambitious targets for carbon emission reductions, introduced heavy fines for pollution, and implemented household waste sorting in cities such as Shanghai. The Chinese consumers are now also seeking ways to live more sustainably, and they are welcoming sustainable products to the market.
Ready for a new market
At Waste2Wear we find ourselves in the middle of this exciting development. China is the largest producer of textiles and apparel globally, and our founder Monique Maissan came to Shanghai with the textile industry more than 20 years ago. Our head office is in Shanghai, but until recently our customers have been international. This is definitively set to change now.
We are very excited about the recent interest in our work from Chinese brands and interest groups. Over the recent months, Waste2Wear has been invited to a number of events to discuss sustainable fashion in China. Sustainability was also one of the key topics at this years Shanghai Fashion Week.
Future Talks Beijing
On May 13th we were represented at the Future Talks hosted by the five Nordic Embassies in Beijing. The event brought together people from both the textile and fashion industry, as well as a large number of young professionals and students who are looking for ways to lead more sustainable lifestyles. Our CMO took part in a panel discussion with Zhang Na, founder of the brand Fake Natoo and the Reclothing Bank. She shared her experiences of turning old styles into new catwalk ready pieces. The moderator for our session was Hung Huang, often referred to as “the Oprah of China”, and she was particularly interested in understanding how RPET production can scale and become economically sustainable.
From the questions from the audience, it was clear that China is ready to move towards a more sustainable fashion industry, but that the knowledge about recycled materials is not as high as many places in for example Europe. Many of the younger audience asked about the quality: Can textile made from recycled bottles reach the same quality as virgin polyester? They also asked if it is safe to wear it.
Happy to help with our knowledge and experience
With our long experience in the market, we were very happy to use Waste2Wear and our products as an example of both the possibility to scale the business in a profitable way, and proven high quality and standards over long time.
Another question many asked was where they can buy our clothes. We were happy to refer to the innovative brand Zurita that uses Waste2Wear materials in their new spring/summer collection which is available across China! There was a clothes swap organised at the mingling event, and we were happy to see the Waste2Wear samples very quickly being taken off the racks.