MEET NOoF W/ HARM
New Order of Fashion is an Eindhoven based foundation helping to shift the dial on sustainability in fashion through talent and innovation. In an ambitious project that kicked off in 2020, they set out to turn the old, unworn clothes from Eindhoven’s residents into a completely new collection of items that would have new life. As we launch the first pieces from the collection on PARO we chatted to Creative Director, Harm Rensink to find out a bit more about the from Scratch Project, and New Order of Fashion’s ambitions for the future.
"To solve today’s fast fashion issues, collaboration is key."
Can you describe NOoF in 2 words?
You’re on a mission to make the fashion industry more circular. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Our mission is to enable a new generation of the world's most forward thinking fashion design talent to boost the transition towards a circular fashion industry. We believe that, next to technological innovation, it takes the creative geniuses to change the fashion industry. New Order of Fashion's design talent can help brands and manufacturers see post consumer textiles in a new light and help the transition to more sustainable and fashionable solutions.
Images by Nick Bookelaar for EHV365
Can you tell us how the From Scratch project came about?
In the summer of 2020, design talent platform New Order of Fashion started an ambitious local recycling and upcycle project called ‘From Scratch’. With the city of Eindhoven as its source, we collected more than 1,500 kg of discarded clothing. The donated items were the starting point of an ongoing research process in collaboration with designer and NOoF talent Alicia Minnaard. Designer Bart Hess and NOoFs industry partner Wolkat transformed the collected items into a new useful material for fashion makers: recycled yarns and 6 kilometers of textile. With these materials, international fashion talent Marie Sloth Rousing created a brand new capsule collection for the city of Eindhoven and its generous citizens. From local source to the creation of a local collection; It doesn’t get more circular!
What was the key thing this project taught you?
The most important thing we learned is that to solve today’s fast fashion issues, collaboration is key. First, we need to collaborate to unmask the problems of the industry’s and create awareness for overproduction and overconsumption. With From Scratch, we showed how much ‘disposed clothing’ we could collect in only two days. Imagine how many tons of garments are collected by official and (unfortunately) the garbage bin and eventually landfills on a daily basis. In making this problem transparent, we hope to influence behaviour and make people think twice when eying for a new shirt or dress.
Simultaneously, we need to urgently collaborate to find solutions for garments that are ready disposed and create a circular stream that treats waste as a resource for new designs. Not only within the industry of fashion makers, but to make a difference together with scientists, designers and policy makers. The problem at hand is too big to solve individually. We need each other’s expertise to make progress. New Order of Fashion sees a distinct role as a connector between all parties involved.
What’s next for the New Order of Fashion?
We want to take everything we learned from From Scratch, and continue on our local, transparent, inclusive and community driven path. We believe it takes fashion talent to fix the fashion industry and we want to collaborate with likeminded partners to educate, source, recycle and create locally. We are partnering up with industry leaders to illustrate how we can prolong the lifespan of garments.
NOoF wants to be transparent every step of the way and show people that their garment ‘waste’ can be a useful resource again. Either by reusing, re-appreciating, upcycling and repairing or by recycling the fabrics and creating new, exciting garments. By making the process local and circular and by working with the latest technologies and the world’s top design talents, we create successful blueprints for the industry to scale and map out.
Some inside scoop, we are currently building our very own LAB space in Eindhoven where New Order of Fashion design talents will be able to experiment freely with post consumer textiles and where we offer partners a magic opportunity to work on circular solutions with the worlds most talented designers. Exciting times!
How would you like to see the wider fashion industry progress with regards to circularity?
For over half a century, the fashion industry has intentionally produced goods of poorer quality to encourage continuous consumption, making it the second largest polluting industry. We need to understand the fast-fashion mindset of overproduction and overconsumption so we can facilitate community driven conversations and actions that reduce the environmental impact on our planet.
Cross industry collaboration is key and together, we must show the linear system of designing for ‘take- make-buy-dispose’ is ripe for disruption. Instead we boost the transition to circularity by designing for low-impact, longevity, recyclability and minimal waste (zero waste, up-cycling, reconstruction). Together, we stop waste from being produced and find solutions to creatively reuse textile waste and actively put it back into the fashion system.
What’s the role of the emerging talent you work with in this transition?
Our talents illustrate fresh perspectives and stimulate innovation, experimentation and co-creation. NOoF ignites unparalleled collaboration to help the industry reinvent itself towards fully sustainable practices. We present a unique opportunity for the industry to involve bright young fashion design talents to rethink design and reinvent its (over) production systems, combining it with the latest technological innovations and jointly striving towards structural changes that lead to circular solutions and closed loops.
What advice would you give to people who want to be more responsible when they’re shopping?
Educate yourself on the impact of your consumption and stop and think before you buy. Have a gander and rediscover what is already in your closet, repair, and swap with (fashion) likeminded friends. And if you do decide it is time for a new treasure, buy good quality and preferably from brands that take responsibility for the whole lifecycle of your garment. Brands that repair when your garment is in need of a fix and brands that offer a possibility to recycle.
You can find the NOoF circular bag collection here.