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Christopher Raeburn: How to scale circularity

There is so much opportunity in being a big business that there’s no excuse for not doing the right thing, says Christopher Raeburn comparing his British-born Raeburn brand with the global scale of Timberland, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. 

Raeburn has been creative director at the latter since late 2018, where he says he is focusing on putting responsible, innovative design at the centre of its strategy. But it’s through his work and experience for the smaller Raeburn business that he’s able to do so, he explains. 

“One of the ways I’ve always looked at Raeburn is almost like a Remora – those small fish that clean sharks… sometimes they can clean the teeth and everything like that. I think it’s a really interesting analogy, because by swimming alongside sometimes those big big fish in the ocean, A) you have the opportunity to clean them, and that’s exciting because they want to be cleaned. B) you have the opportunity to talk to them a little bit and then maybe you can start to really steer them. And if they want to be steered and it’s a really good partnership then you’re going to go in the right direction together,” he says. 

Raeburn, which was founded in 2009, has built up its business focused on three key areas that all come under the circularity header: reduced, remade and recycled. But that was the case long before sustainability itself became a “trend”. 

“I never really set out to start a responsible company. It was more a company that started from common sense. And it fascinates me, as I say, that there is all of this stuff out there. And why can’t we reuse and remake it before we even need to buy anything new,” Raeburn notes.

Join us as we also explore why scaling such a model is essential for the future of our industry, how much opportunity is coming down the pipeline from what we currently consider trash, and the role business has to play in education today.

Listen here: Entale | Spotify |  Apple Podcasts | Android Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Editor's pick sustainability

Global fashion brand transparency is on the rise, says new industry report

Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution

Adidas and Reebok are leading the way towards greater transparency among major corporate players, according to a new report from sustainable non-profit organization, Fashion Revolution.

Research released in the 2018 Fashion Transparency Index shows improvement across the industry, with the 100 brands reviewed showing an overall increase of 5% in their transparency levels.

The study reviews and ranks major global brands and retailers according to their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts. The top 10 brands for transparency in 2018 also include Puma, H&M, Esprit, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, C&A and Marks & Spencer.

On the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, Fashion Revolution highlights the importance for brands to be fair and transparent, particularly when it comes to impact on the lives of workers in the supply chain and on the environment.

The non-profit is also holding a weeklong series of events with designers around the world, sharing their ideas, processes and best practice when it comes to transparency. Designers taking part include Stella McCartney, Phoebe English, Christopher Raeburn and Vivienne Westwood with aims of engaging the consumer further in the conversation of who makes their clothes.

Fashion Revolution’s global operations director and founder Carry Somers said: “Over the last five years, millions of consumers have demanded a fairer, safer, cleaner industry. It’s working. We can see that brands are listening and the industry is starting to change.

“We’re calling upon the global fashion industry to turn its commitment to responsible sourcing into effective action this Fashion Revolution Week. Too many people working in the fashion industry, mostly women, are still underpaid, unsafe and mistreated. It’s time for change”.

In a plea to promote the conversation around supply chain transparency on a wider scale, Fashion Revolution has also launched its manifesto, laying out action points they believe will achieve a cleaner and safer fashion industry. Beyond the actionable steps, the company is also calling on consumers in general to spread the word via shareable social media assets and additional reading material.

For more content on brands striving to achieve a more sustainable supply chain, see TheCurrent Daily’s Sustainability category, which includes innovations by winners of this year’s Index such as Stella McCartney’s mushroom leather handbag and adidas’ pledge to use only recycled ocean plastics by 2020.