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Betting on sustainable fashion and the circular economy from Colombia

One of the biggest ways the fashion industry impacts the environment is that tons of clothing ends up in the trash.

All types of clothing finds its way to the garbage dumps or sanitary pits (as they're called in Colombia), including uniforms, which many sectors require that their employees wear and annually replace (which in turn is required by law as new staff comes on board).

Seeing this, Maria Luisa Ortíz, business owner and Colombian designer, decided to accept an invitation and challenge to reuse discarded police uniforms, 360,000 of which are thrown out and incinerated every year. The invitation was the result of a collaboration between the Colombian NGO Transformador and the University of the Andes. The result was the project Manifesto Four, which focused on sustainable fashion and its role in the circular economy.

From the project rose the collection Todos Ponen[Everyone Adds Something], the result of an alliance between various organizations: the Association for Social Projects Benefiting the National Police, the World Corporation of the Colombian Woman, the Agency for the Reincorporation and Normalization, Marquillas S.A. textile mills, the organization Promotion of Social Trades, and Grupo Éxito, a South American retail group. In addition, this initiative, brought productive work opportunities to people looking for a change to start again, far from armed conflict. These workers were asked to wash and break down the garments and then create new products to be sold by Grupo Éxito.

Thanks to the quality of the uniform fabric, approximately 2,000 garments were given a second chance and transformed into bags, briefcases, and school accessories -- all created by a designer committed to textile products beyond just fast fashion.


El y Boyacá



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