Greater Goods, founded in 2018 by Jaimus Tailor, is a London based design project which is dedicated to sustainability and upcycling. To encourage and promote the use of reclaimed materials, Greater Goods is repurposing fashion through upcycling.
Taking old North Face jackets as the raw material, Greater Goods creates a variety of accessories, repurposing fashion products destined for landfill.
The North Face Repurposed
North Face jackets are an iconic staple of both the outdoors industry and more recently, streetwear. The ongoing collaboration with Supreme has further escalated the relevance of these jackets in both fashion circles and everyday youth culture.
North Face jackets are a technical clothing item, made from hard-wearing, expensive and resource-heavy materials like Gore-Tex. With materials built to last, they should as such, have a long life span.
While schemes like ‘North Face Renewed’ looks to fix and resell the used product, a longer-term solution will likely be the re-use of an old product as raw materials.
Enter Greater Goods – a London based design project who take old, but useable North Face products, repurposing fashion through upcycling.
Repurposing Fashion with Greater Goods
The Ecobahn caught up with Jaimus to discuss the Greater Goods project, the potential for upcycling, and the challenges of selling used product through eCommerce.
How did you first land on the concept for your product?
The concept all came about when I wanted to sell my old North Face HyVent jacket. I picked up the jacket from eBay, and it was my first solid waterproof rain jacket that I was proud of buying. I wore it religiously for years in all seasons. It was a secondhand all-black HyVent with the standard pockets and fold-away hood. But due to its poor condition, no one was buying it. At this time, I was also learning to sew, I brought a sewing machine as a new years gift to myself in hopes that I would learn a new skill. I knew how to make simple tote bags and thought it would be a good idea to use the ripstop fabric on the jacket to stop it from going to waste. I have always been into upcycling and repurposing materials, I’ve made countless pieces of furniture from thrown out pieces of wood that would have been sent to landfill. I translated this same approach to sewing and that paired with my old HyVent jacket gave me the concept.
Where do you source the used product to be repurposed?
Finding heavily worn or damaged jackets turned out to be easier than expected. There are so many selling platforms for old clothes and products, so these online sites are the main way we source jackets. I have also become known as the guy who will make use of damaged or scrap materials so quite often friends or family members will source things for me or give me their own jackets or garments. Each product has its own story and imperfections, so I feel it’s important to carry that forward to the product.
How do you feel about the current state of sustainability in fashion?
I feel that fashion is heading in a much better direction, sustainability and general awareness of the environment is becoming a lot more common. Of course, there is still more to be done, but many fashion companies are taking the correct steps forward, and people and consumers forcing the change have ultimately been the reason for this. It’s important for the big dogs not to be let off the hook as they have a much greater impact than consumers. Often I feel changes to be more eco are being implemented just to keep us happy and to fit the trend. However, as a whole, the current state of fashion is an improvement from before.
Do you feel brands themselves should take a more active role in repurposing old products?
Definitely. I feel that most brands should have a repurposing or upcycling scheme, it just makes sense for a brand who is willing to make the products also be willing to repair or reuse the same products once it’s been created.
With online being your primary sales channel- do you ever have any issues with consumers not understanding they are effectively buying a ‘used’ product? How do you combat this?
We’ve never had any issues with customers in regards to products showing signs of use. I feel that our customers understand that the product they are buying is made from used fabrics, and this is often the main reason they purchase the product. It’s only right that the product shows signs of wear and tear while still being a strong, durable product. I’ve always been a believer in products that show signs of use being much more beautiful than a brand new shiny item. Instantly there is personality and a story, compared to a sterile object. I often look to Tom Sachs work for inspiration, and I will always remember him talking about the reason why he leaves his pencil lines on his sculptures and how it shows a human has created and built the artwork. These marks, lines and imperfections become the key features of the object and make each one unique.
What is your view on the future of repurposing fashion? Do you feel this will become the norm?
I’m honestly not sure if it will become the norm. It will become close, but I feel we have come a very long way, to the point where large high-street fashion companies are using more recycled fabrics than new fabrics.
Any brands you take inspiration from when it comes to sustainability and upcycling?
Lots of great brands out there: Story MFG, Patagonia, Maharishi, Elliss, Ahluwalia Studio, Readymade, Parley and Bode to name a few!
What are your thoughts around the recently announced Adidas Infinite Play for repurposing fashion?
The Adidas Infinite Play shows that companies are looking at ways to become more sustainable. I don’t know much about this scheme but from what I’ve read it looks positive, as any scheme like this. Sadly it’s only limited to products directly brought from Adidas UK which will constrain things massively, not to mention the products have to be purchased within the past 5 years. I feel that consumers should just look towards buying secondhand from the get-go, but this is great to see from a large company such as Adidas.
Check out the full range of product and more details on the concept at https://www.greatergoods.online/
Further Reading: Recommerce: Future of Retail. Read More