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Cos is ‘Restoring’ Damaged Garments With The Renewal Workshop

Cos is saving garments from the landfill with “Restore,” an upcoming range of previously unsellable clothing that has been mended and returned to the assortment.

The run will be limited—come Sept. 4, it will be available exclusively in three Cos stores in Berlin, Stockholm and Utrecht—but Cos says the test collection demonstrates parent company H&M Group’s commitment to exploring how “to become even more sustainable and lower our impact on the environment.”

“Restore” is the result of a partnership between The Laboratory, H&M Group’s innovation arm, and The Renewal Workshop, an Oregon-based company that teams up with brands such as The North Face, Prana and, most recently, Mara Hoffman to sort, clean, repair and otherwise extend the life of blemished clothing from customer returns or overstock. To launder items, The Renewal Workshop employs liquid-carbon-dioxide technology from Tersus Solution that requires no heat or water. The process is closed loop: Roughly 98 percent of the liquid CO₂ is recaptured after each cycle.

Using data collected from a third party, H&M Group says it was able to calculate how much water, CO₂ and energy it saved by making this collection. The information, it added, will be prominently displayed int he stores where “Restore” will be sold.

The collection is an “important test” to adapt the company’s thinking around new business models for a circular economy, where materials are recovered, reused or recycled rather than destroyed, according to Laura Coppen, circular/sustainable business development manager at The Laboratory.

“We have a big responsibility with the scale and impact we currently have on the environment and this test is one example of many where we are exploring new solutions,” she said in a statement. “It is essential we ideate new solutions for a lower impact on our environment whilst offering customers quality, beautiful products that last.”

Another one of those ways was unveiled April, when the firm anounced it was piloting the sale of secondhand clothing on the Swedish site of its & Other Stories brand. Eventually the scheme may extend to other brands and markets, Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M Group, told Reuters.

“It comes back to the whole circular vision…it just makes great sense to look into this business,” she said. “We see this as a growing part of the industry, with great opportunities both for consumers and not least for the environmental impact, and how we can drastically reduce that by extending the life of the products.”