Many clothing brands nowadays want to use sustainable materials, brands Eefje Witvoet and Koen Ellerbeck of Men of Orange, a company that links brands to premium clothing manufacturers. Men of Orange thinks along with those brands, helps them and enriches the collections. Witvoet: “One of the latest developments in the field of textiles is the use of recycled ingredients and the question of how the quality of the garments can be guaranteed.” One of the brands Witvoet and Ellerbeck of Men of Orange work with is Blue LOOP Originals. This recycle brand from the Twente wholesaler Ideavelop, is a pioneer in recycling and has launched various innovations over the past 10 years. Blue LOOP makes T-shirts and sweaters from old jeans, slippers from sports shoes and sweaters from old woolen sweaters. The collaboration with Men of Orange allows the brand to develop further.
Time left for new developments “Because we have grown in a healthy way in recent years, the need arose for a reliable partner who could take over and assist the production,” says Ron van de Wiel of Blue LOOP Originals. The brand previously spent a lot of time in innovations and production, because when working with recycled materials, everyone in the chain must be well informed and work together. “Now that the foundation is in place, the time has come to further develop ourselves commercially. We noticed that we could communicate more professionally with the manufacturers. And we wanted to see what else was possible in terms of production." That is why Blue LOOP Originals joined forces with Men of Orange a year ago. Witvoet: “We started by looking at the range and how the collections were produced. We then looked at how we could improve the documentation and how we could better organize and structure the process, so that there was better communication in the chain. When we had a clear idea of what could be done even better, we suggested manufacturers from Men of Orange.” Producing close to home In addition to existing manufacturers, Men of Orange has suggested a number of good new manufacturers. They are manufacturers who are fully engaged in sustainable developments. Think of: the use of green electricity, organic cotton, GOTS certifications or innovative dyeing processes without chemicals. It is also important for Blue LOOP Originals that production takes place close to home. "The waste that we recycle is located here. It would be very crooked if we first brought it to South-East Asia." Thinking about sustainable issues The collaboration with Blue LOOP Originals also enables Men of Orange to better inform other customers about sustainable production and the use of recycled materials. "Ron made me even more aware of how important it is to use one type of material as much as possible in a garment, because then it is much easier to recycle," says Witvoet. She can advise customers on all the possibilities and limitations that you will encounter when you choose recycled materials. “Clients sometimes find that difficult, that there are limitations,” Witvoet says. “Of course you want the clothing to be of good quality, but then – if you use recycled materials – sometimes you can't choose every color for every material. So you have to be flexible.” Van de Wiel adds: “If something quickly dries up or doesn't smell good, people don't attract it and it is still not sustainable. We therefore choose not to work with 100 percent recycled materials, but with a mix.” Amsterdam sweater made from recycled jeans Men of Orange will also support Blue LOOP Originals during a consumer campaign in Amsterdam, the Recycle Roadshow. The concept: for two months, from the end of May to the beginning of July, consumers can hand in their old jeans at about ten stores in Amsterdam. Blue LOOP Originals collects this and takes it to a recycling factory in Gronau, just across the border near Enschede. Then it goes to a spinner in Belgium to make yarn. It then goes to a manufacturer in Portugal from the Men of Orange network. This producer makes a cloth out of it again and finally a sweater. The jersey will feature artwork that symbolizes the city. Consumers can buy that sweater. Van de Wiel explains that the campaign mainly aims to make consumers aware of waste in the clothing industry. Do you also want to use recycled materials? Men of Orange thinks along For brands that want to start using recycled fabrics, there is a lot to think about. Witvoet: “We are there to think along, to help, to improve and to enrich.” For more information or to make an appointment, visit menoforange.nl.