Today, we’re taking a closer look into the ‘Refurbish’ method of circular design. For those of you who are just joining our circular journey, the ten principles have been created by the work of the City of Amsterdam, as part of their Circular City Strategy. We are taking a deeper look into circular design from the lens of the consumer, choosing to challenge the traditional linear model, and view waste as a resource.
Refurbish: Refurbish old products to bring them up to date.
(to refurbish: renovate and redecorate)
We’ve all got that one friend who is a self-proclaimed DIY’er (DIY=Do It Yourself), who takes an old, seemingly decrepit piece of furniture and turns into a modern day work of furniture art. Or, maybe it’s your friend that you look to for style inspiration and find yourself constantly in awe of their ability to dive through used clothing bins and turn the items into runway ready outfits. This is simply human ingenuity at work and we believe that everyone is capable of using their creative brains in order to make a product that is “old” into something that looks brand new.
However, there will be people who read this and think “Thanks, but no thanks. I was not gifted with craftiness”. The good news is that you no longer have to be! Thanks to a growing number of businesses opening with their main focus being on turning the old into the new, it is easier than ever to join the “refurbish” movement and play a role in the circular economy. Whether you’re a minimalist with appreciation for owning a few pieces of high quality articles of clothing (or furniture, for that matter), or someone who has an ever-growing closet without a decent solution for all of it. Either way, every consumer can benefit from businesses that put energy towards refurbishing products.
It wouldn’t be a blog about circular consumerism if we didn’t give praise to one of our favourite companies….
In so many ways, Patagonia wrote the book on sustainable business and have turned what could have just been another clothing company, into a platform to amplify their voice on complex social challenges. We believe this exemplifies what it means to be a sustainable, circular company, and we’re lucky to have them to learn from.
“At Patagonia, we appreciate that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. We’re using the resources we have — our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations — to do something about it.” — Patagonia
Full disclosure, we are long-time supporters of Patagonia for both their activism and their clothing. So, we’ve been aware of their refurbish efforts, or so we thought.
In our research, we were introduced to a new website from Patagonia that they were proudly advertising on their home page of their website. The Worn Wear website was created by Patagonia specifically to promote refurbished clothing while also educating consumers on all of the benefits of buying used products.
Patagonia using design to promote second hand clothing and educate consumers
Not only are they purposely advertising their worn wear collection, but they are working to change the mindset of buying second hand to something that is “cool”. Often time, a consumer mindset is the only thing standing in the way of making big changes towards movements like circularity. We are confident that with a leader like Patagonia setting the new standard, that consumers will be quick to follow. Further to offering a new way of looking at buying second hand, they use their “advertisement” space as an opportunity to educate consumers using valuable, easy to remember data points.