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Recovered Uncovered: Designing Red's Recovered Collection

Posted by Lydia Burdett

At Red, we’re focused on making products with the least number of offcuts, but there is always an element of leftover fabric. That got us thinking... "What if we created a collection of robes made from repurposed materials without compromising on performance or style?". What started as a lightbulb moment is now our latest sustainable edit entitled The Recovered Collection - we caught up with Red’s Designer Cat Heraty to find out more...

Talk us through how the Recovered Collection came to fruition.

We always start a new ‘season’ with a good dose of research. For AW23, we saw lots of really great inspiration around colour blocking, anything from arts and crafts to heritage outdoors kit and even aerial photographs of landscapes. Our research themes are really broad so we don’t get stifled by the limitations of our direct industry. 

Initially, we looked at colour blocking with new coloured fabrics, but something didn’t seem to make sense - the fabric wastage that would inevitably come with this. In garment production, there are always MOQs (minimum order quantities) to consider. With products like our Pro Change Robe EVO we always try to keep demand in line with the MOQ, but sometimes there may be a small surplus of fabric.

We decided to make use of this surplus fabric by creating colour block combinations with what we already had and were unlikely to reorder.

How do we overcome the inevitable issue of surplus fabrics?

Ordinarily, you would hope to use up overstock fabrics on subsequent orders but sometimes the popularity of a colour changes and there's demand for a fresh alternative. The overstock fabric still exists and may be sitting in a warehouse, waiting to be loved again. Some factories have a contract that states they’ll store the fabric for a set number of years, beyond which the fabric may start to degrade or can lose its efficiency for the intended application.

So how is the Recovered Collection giving new life to these surplus fabrics?

Through discussions with our factory, we discovered that we had accumulated some overstock rolls from previous orders but didn’t want to make more of the same colours, but equally didn’t want them to go to waste. Our colours are quite classic and heritage in our Pro Change Robe EVO, and normally we try to keep colour combinations as broad-reaching and commercial as possible. 

With our Recovered Collection, we wanted to be a bit more playful in our approach. So, going back to our research boards, we decided to try to emulate some of the colour combinations and have fun using what we already had available to us.

What was the inspiration behind Recovered’s three colour combinations? 

We wanted to invoke some nostalgia through colour pairing. The Teal and Navy colour way, for example, evokes a watery landscape with a flash of a starboard buoy. Fuchsia Pink and Red with and orange liner is perhaps the most love / hated colour combination, but the inspiration came from Autumn sunsets. We loved the combinations of reflections on water and how there are deeper, darker colours, paired with pops of yellows and brights for Mulberry Wine and Fuchsia Pink.

How does this collection align with Red’s values as a certified B Corporation?

Our Recovered Collection is a nod to Red’s mission to provide exceptional quality with as little impact on the planet as possible. It’s all about working with what we have and giving new adventures to leftover fabrics, creating something that is as stylish as it is practical. This range is limited naturally by the need to use up the fabric and negate the need to reorder any of the colours, clearing the slate and making way for new colour updates for future seasons.