R:evolve Recycle's story
For many people fashion is something that passes with the wind but they can have little realisation of the impact their clothing choices can have on our planet, but a single pair of jeans can use more than 4,000 litres of water in their "lifetime", and millions of tonnes of perfectly good clothing end up in landfill simply because new clothing is so cheap people think nothing of throwing clothes away.
The R:evolve Recycle project aims to change all that, with a unique swap shop clothing boutique, which takes people's pre-loved items of clothing and "sells" them to customers - without a penny changing hands.
Customers are members who donate clothing and get points to use in the boutiques. For example, donating a jacket, could earn you three points to spend on "new" clothes - which will cost you between one and three points.
Members can also join one of R:evolve's workshops and turn old clothes into new creations.
The project received funding from multiple sources including the Climate Challenge Fund and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and has already seen members making more than 38,000 clothing swaps, and has saved more than 60,000 tonnes of clothing from going to landfill.
In 2022 R:evolve launched its thrift and gift store in Cambuslang where customers can browse a range of vintage designer and second hand (with tags) clothing and accessories as well as reworked garments, jewellery, crafts and homeware from independent makers. All income through the enterprise is reinvested into R:evolve Recycle to keep our swap shops and clothing banks free for our community.
Additionally the project runs a clothing bank, which helps people who are referred from foodbanks - around 120 people last year alone.
Useful learnings from R:evolve Recycle
Share your skills with others to allow everyone to embark on a sustainability journey.
Offering a range of workshops and activities alongside the shops encourages people to engage further.
The shops are set up in a stylish and modern way. Shopping at R:evolve Recycle feels like shopping in an upmarket boutique – which helps bring in people who would usually be put off by the idea of buying secondhand.
R:evolve Recycle's metrics
Items of clothing swapped.
Number of people supported by clothes bank.
Number of workshop attendees.