Uniqlo’s affordable down jackets are one of the company’s signature products. But what happens to these coats once they’ve reached the end of their lifecycle? The Japanese mega-retailer is not exactly fast fashion, but the affordability its clothes makes them seem a little more disposable, which is a big problem for the environment. Unwanted clothes end up in landfill and contribute to carbon dioxide emissions.
The company has launched a new Re.Uniqlo initiative to encourage its customers to give their old clothes fresh life by bringing them back to Uniqlo to be turned into new items. The first product out of Re.Uniqlo: Recycled down jackets, just in time for the winter chill. In true Uniqlo fashion, the unisex outwear is stylishly basic, with V-neck collars, diamond-shaped quilting, and a zippered front pocket.
The down comes from the 620,000 used jackets collected by Uniqlo since last September. The coats’ down and feathers were sorted, cleaned, and re-fluffed for repurposing using air-assisted technology in Japan. (Patagonia has a similar down-salvaging operation.) They’re then reborn as the fashionable bomber-esque jackets designed by the Parisian Uniqlo U design team and Artistic Director Christophe Lemaire.
The new line also continues Uniqlo’s commitment to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), a farm sourcing certification that verifies that down materials were not collected through unethical methods, including violations of animal welfare.
Additionally, the retailer is asking customers to bring unwanted, worn (even with some damage) adult Uniqlo down jackets to brick-and-mortar locations, where they can be exchanged for a $10 in-store voucher toward a new coat. The campaign runs through December 31.
Fast Company may receive revenue for some links to products on our site.