Over a decade on from introducing the schoolwear industry to recycled polyester, David Luke School Uniform is proud to announce another industry first as we partner with the Circular Textiles Foundation. David Luke will be the first school uniform brand to join the Circular Textiles Foundation’s revolution with the aim of making our products 100% recyclable to ensure they never need to go to landfill or incineration. Our first fully recyclable school blazer will be available to purchase from January 2023 marking a new era in sustainable innovation for our industry.
“We have been quite obsessed with responsible production and consumption of clothing and exploring the next solution for end-of-life school uniform,” explains Kathryn Shuttleworth. “Our Re:Uniform campaign is still so much of what we are about – putting more into the construction of products so that they can be handed down and live a long life. But when the inevitable happens and garments cannot be rescued, it is greatly disappointing to discover there are very few well-developed solutions out there. We have worked with garment-recyclers, where there has been an historical approach to down-cycling and converting waste fabrics into blankets, flooring, or rags, but this still doesn’t feel like a useful way to introduce circularity. And so, through our connection to the garment recyclers connecting us to work with Reskinned, we were then signposted to the Circular Textile Foundation and a complete mindset shift in the way we need to look at closing the loop.”
The most significant movement in textiles since the industrial revolution
The Circular Textiles Foundation is the first of its kind; the ground-breaking initiative provides an independent circularity standard for genuine accountability, transparency, and peace of mind. In making circularity accessible to all, the foundation turns the concept into a reality.
“The key learning as we’ve been introducing circularity, is that it all begins with design. So much of the clothing we all wear and the uniform we make uses blended fibres, and the mechanical and chemical reprocessing technologies that exist, have really struggled to separate those fibres and make sure they can all be reused again.
Working with CTF, we have gone through a significant process to analyse every element of the products we have started with and certify the content with them. From fabric, buttons, thread, zips, interlining, shoulder pads – we have gone through all elements, resourcing where we need to. This process has been quicker than we feared but helped by the fact that our Eco blazers and jackets use mono-fibre polyester.”
Fibre to fibre textile recycling
The Circular Textiles Foundation certification mark will be carried on Eco Blazers and Jackets from January 2023 with a goal to encompass the entire eco-uniform range for future collections. This mark guarantees that the garment has been designed to be recycled by a specific facility, which processes it into new fabric at end of use. The fabric can then be used to make new clothing, eliminating waste, reducing the need for virgin materials, and reducing CO2 emissions. David Luke customers can actively join in with our circular journey by scanning the QR code found on the garment’s tag to find out how and where it can be recycled.
Sophie Scanlon, Head of Circular Design, the Circular Textiles Foundation comments; “David Luke have truly broken the mold by embracing new ways of working across their business to enable the swift and effective integration of circular design principles. We are delighted and proud to be assisting them in delivering the first recyclable school blazer, a standout piece, the first of its kind for schoolwear.”
Our vision for the next decade is that we use recycled fibres made from clothing not plastic bottles. We want to make our school uniform completely circular: made from recycled materials which mean it is 100% recyclable and it never needs to go to landfill. With immediate effect we will be designing our Eco Blazer and Jackets with this specific goal in mind, aiming for every item to be returned to thread or fibre, ready for its next incarnation and available to buy from January 2023.