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A new lease on life

June 26, 2024


3 min read

Kathman-REDU tackles fashion waste one stitch at a time

Even the smallest issue with a garment – a broken zip, missing button or tiny hole – can mean it ends up in landfill. Kathmandu’s new pilot program is making a small dent in a big problem.

KMD Brands’ garments are built for a lifetime of adventure, and we know a bit of wear and tear shouldn’t mean the end of a perfectly good product.  

But Australians send more than 200,000 tonnes of clothing to landfill each year. KMD Brands, through Rip Curl, is a foundation member of the Seamless Clothing Stewardship Scheme. Seamless aims to create a circular clothing industry by 2030. 

KMD Brands is also committed to building a circular business, which means keeping clothing in circulation for as long as possible. To do this, we create quality products that are made to last. We repurpose excess stock through clearance, charity donations and staff sales. But we are always looking for new ways to give our garments a second life. 

In March 2023 we launched a new circularity pilot program called Kathman-REDU. Backed by a grant from Sustainability Victoria, and with the help of circularity specialists Aleasha McCallion and Kirri-Mae Sampson, we are tackling a global challenge one stitch at a time. 

As KMD Brands’ Head of ESG Shasta O’Loughlin told the Australian Financial Review: “Returns are a significant problem for the industry. But when there is an issue with a garment, like broken zips, stitching or buttons, we feel we can solve it and get those items back into circulation.” 

Used and unwanted garments are collected and sent to the skilful artisans at the Remote Repairs workshop. Meticulously cleaned, repaired, restored and relabelled Kathman-REDU, garments are then ready for a new lease of life. 

After launching the pilot at our Richmond store in Melbourne, Victoria, we expanded to our Melbourne Galleria store in the city and started a social media and public relations campaign to spread the word. 

In tandem, we established a partnership with Upparel at 24 Kathmandu stores in Victoria, Australia, and 11 in New Zealand. Customers can drop their used, unwanted or faulty Kathmandu gear in designated Upparel bins to be reused, recycled or repurposed. Some of these items are donated to Upparel’s community and charity partners, some are recycled, and others returned to retail as a part of Kathman-REDU.

A massive two tonnes of textiles have been diverted from landfill since the program’s launch. What’s next? Our analysis of the pilot project's outcomes will guide future planning to ensure the lasting success of Kathman-REDU. 

Find out more about Kathman-REDU


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