One way to make a greater sustainability impact is through scale. Often, green garments come with a price premium, but a recent partnership between basics brand Fruit of the Loom and circular fiber producer Recover shows the potential for sustainable solutions at a mass level.
“We really believe in the universality of Recover, the fact that sustainability should be for everybody,” said Boris Mercier, senior vice president, marketing at Recover.
In service of its brand mission to be part of “look good, feel good, do good moments” and its Fruitful Futures sustainability plan, which maps out goals surrounding carbon reduction and making products responsibly, Fruit of the Loom sought out a supply chain partner for circularity and found Recover. In a case study presentation at Sourcing Journal’s Fall Summit: Strategic Solutions for Complex Challenges, moderated by Sourcing Journal sourcing and labor editor Jasmin Malik Chua, Fruit of the Loom’s senior marketing manager Drew Lawrence explained that what developed was not just a supply chain partnership but an alliance between two brands.
“Bringing those brands together has been very impactful in terms of how we can tell a story from start to finish,” Lawrence said.
Recover has been making recycled cotton and cotton-blend fibers for 70 years, but more recently, the company has been working to become an ingredient brand. In addition to its decades of expertise in the material space, Recover provides an “end-to-end solution” that supports each step in the supply chain, including design.
This collection focuses on the ubiquitous and timeless T-shirt. Lawrence noted, “Our product is very versatile and also very common. I think our reach and just the way that consumers interact with our product makes it very high impact.”
As Lawrence described it, making products accessible comes down to distribution and availability as well as pricing; the T-shirts in the collection retail for $15. “We’re very conscious of making sure that we built the product in a way that we could make it available and something that was in reach of most of our consumer base,” he said.
The partnership extended to creative collaboration on the communication and marketing for the collection, with both brands contributing their own ideas. Recover’s fibers were used for the first time in a photo shoot, allowing for imagery that shows the product creation from fiber to completed shirt, simplifying and visualizing the explanation for consumers. “One of the things that we did here and that we brought from Recover is this creativity, which is not common,” Mercier said. “You don’t expect your supply chain partner to bring creativity.”
Across its partnerships—including its work with jean brand DL1961 on circular denim—Recover provides its consumer-facing brand partners with information they can use to illustrate sustainability to consumers. “At the end, the brand is the vehicle to bring this to the final consumer,” Mercier said.