Towards a Sustainable Supply Chain
OI China and Turkey have sourced four articles designed for circularity with sustainable design, materials, and recycling processes for Otto Group’s Circular Collection.
At OI, We Care
OI’s China and Turkey offices helped to source sustainable garments for Otto Group’s Circular Collection, including denim jeans, a shirt, and two dresses. Made from certified materials and designed for circularity, these articles are high-quality classics that are essential for every wardrobe.
For example, the jeans OI sourced are made from GOTS certified cotton and elastane, GRS certified sewing yarns and removable buttons. Hence, all materials follow the same technical cycle for recycling. It is also laser-printed to reduce water consumption during production.
At OI, we care about people and are mindful of our environmental impact. We commit to making our whole operation sustainable, allowing us to ensure the highest standards of quality and compliance in our supply chain. Therefore, the articles from this collection are designed with the principles of circular economy in mind to mitigate environmental damage and minimise waste.
What is Circularity in Fashion?
In a circular economy, articles are recycled and reused instead of discarded at the end of their product lifecycle, reducing waste and consumption of new materials. Since this is a complex process, finding sustainable solutions throughout the supply chain is crucial.
As Lisa Franke, Sustainability Manager, Circularity at Otto Group, believes, “the fashion of the future is circular!” Therefore, OTTO products and Lascana’s 100% recyclable collection is designed with sustainability in mind right from the beginning.
Ed Hu, Key Account General Manager, Team Otto at OI Shanghai, who worked on sourcing the jeans and two-piece dress, explains that circularity requires carefully choosing materials that foster durability. The sustainable product design also prevents environmental pollution with natural dyes and, most importantly, results in an entirely reusable garment. Therefore, with responsible use, the clothing will never end up as waste!
Why can’t all garments be recycled?
Stefan Goergner, Global Technical Manager, Testing and Sustainable Materials at OI, explains that although around 15% of garments produced globally are collected to be recycled, only 1% of these materials are actually recycled. A significant problem is the widespread use of blended fabrics made from various fibres, and accessories. For instance, a 100% cotton t-shirt may still contain other materials like a label and thread used for stitching.
Since these materials come from different biological or technical cycles, recycling them while preserving high quality is impossible. Moreover, manually sorting textiles is both labour-intensive and requires a skilled workforce. With an unclear understanding of the components of a garment, they are usually discarded, which is why OTTO’s Circular Collection can make a significant difference!
Towards Transparency and Conservation
With the circularity.ID®, a simple tap on one’s smartphone allows customers to access the composition information, care label, and recycling instructions by scanning the QR codes on each garment. Everyone from customers to recyclers is thus involved in the valuable function of extending each product’s lifecycle and ensuring its quality is preserved during recycling.
Enhancing Awareness of Circularity
Stefan believes that circular fashion is as much about a mindset and awareness change as it is about setting up facilities designed for circularity in the supply chain. Our international network of suppliers and focus on social compliance make it possible to ensure sustainability. However, as the feasibility of circular systems in fashion is still challenging, Stefan firmly believes that “the entire textile industry must implement circularity.”
Ed agrees, “[Regarding embracing circularity,] Otto Group does not want to wait till things change but drive it themselves.” “Our customers perceive Otto Group as not just caring about the business, but also about the people and the environment”, a mission that is also at the heart of OI’s operations. “This is why we have been able to come so far”, he adds.
Through circularity.ID®, Stefan hopes this collection, that OI has contributed to, can promote a deeper understanding of the complexities behind recycling to customers to bring them on board in making fashion sustainable. Otto Group offers other circularity services such as repairing clothes, second-hand selling and donating to charities for this vision to come true. More information about this is available in German here.