The current apparel value chain is mostly linear—take, make, dispose—resulting in huge amounts of waste and the destruction of value. There is an urgent need to transition from linear production to a fully circular and inclusive fashion economy, in which renewable resources are used, the true value of materials is captured, and people throughout the chain are valued and taken care off. While there is a lot already happening to create this change, innovation in the apparel value chain is more prominent in Europe and USA on the consumer end, when compared to countries where production is mostly taking place. We spotted this break in the road towards a truly circular and fair apparel value chain and set up the Reweave Venture Studio. Right at the heart of the apparel production industry: India, the world’s second-biggest textile producer.
The weight of innovation is on the consumer end of the chain
Hope is on the horizon, as brands and innovators start to see the need for this transition. New impactful brands and ambitious start-ups are working to change the sector as growing numbers of consumers refuse to accept the status quo and demand beautiful high-quality products, assured that they are sustainably and fairly produced.
Looking at the current apparel value chain, the weight of innovation is on the consumer side. Innovative business-to-consumer models are on the rise and the unicorn businesses in the field of sustainable apparel are all in the domain of circular consumption, like Rent the Runway, StockX and The RealReal.
However, there is an urgent need to accelerate change on the production side of the value chain in producing countries like India, which are disproportionately affected by unsustainable practices. Waste is high on India’s political agenda and the circular fashion start-up scene is only just starting to grow. Conveners and accelerators are there to stimulate existing ventures. But there are still very limited innovations and not enough scalable ventures. There is an urgent need for innovators to come up with solutions which fit local contexts and can be rapidly scaled in order to bring real change to the system. This is exactly what we want to tackle with Reweave.
Building ventures to drive sustainable production
Reweave Venture Studio is a program by serial entrepreneur Enviu, aiming to drive sustainable innovation in the current ecosystem by building new ventures or scaling existing ventures which work at key levers of the apparel industry. We specifically build disruptive ventures that focus on fair and sustainable production, as well as deriving and creating value from the waste output in the production process. While we have the capacity and experience to turn ideas into reality, we believe that the issue is too big to solve on our own. Therefore, we collaborate with like-minded, complementing partners and co-entrepreneurs to grow each venture into a viable business.
Together, our ventures form a circular and fair apparel value chain in India, in opposition to the existing linear apparel value chain. This new circular and fair chain stresses the importance of change in production methods. Going beyond a sole focus on sustainable production methods, fair working conditions for the workers in our chain is uncompromisable. In the figure below, you can find a clear overview of the role each venture we’re building is taking in creating a new circular and fair apparel value chain.
Today, brands and consumers in India and all around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of circularity and inclusivity and they are starting to adopt a similar mindset. As we continue to reweave the apparel industry through building disruptive ventures, we look forward to seeing circular and fair fashion become the new normal in India and beyond!