Clothes are moving fast in fashion retail, but a re-use and recycle scheme keeps hangers in the loop

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Other (Hong Kong)
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Braiform is a global leader in garment hanger reuse. Products are returned to reuse centres where they are sorted, repackaged and distributed back to garment-producing regions, preventing them from ending up in landfill.

Much of the discussion for companies looking to thrive in a circular economy relates to business model innovation – fundamentally changing the way we design, source materials, manufacture and sell. However, anyone trying to catalyse change within a business knows that this can never happen overnight. New practices are often taken on as pilot projects, prototypes or incremental tweaks, testing the water for a wider rollout if the numbers stack up and others are on board. It takes ambition to make these changes at scale, and garment hanger provider Braiform is one example of such ambition, moving from a throughput model to one that achieves 80% re-use – almost unheard of for such a low-value product.

Braiform is amongst the largest garment hanger suppliers in the world, handling billions of hangers each year.

Check the Braiform video

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Main results
  • The re-use model has created jobs. Employing just over 500 people, the company provides more people through re-use that it did previously with manufacturing, and more than if dealing in recycling alone;
  • This model is also less reactive to the fashion seasons, with the workforce remaining stable and consistent throughout the year, rather than creating unhelpful peaks and troughs;
  • By moving from take-make-dispose to the inner loops of the technical cycle, the company is demonstrating the multiple benefits that circular business models can bring: materials cost saving, greater resilience from price volatility, closer client relationship and new jobs, with a 70% reduction in material waste.