Photo by Mortaza Rahimi

Fabric Republic: Giving new life to old clothes

Did you know that the way we manage our old clothes is the second biggest problem in our planet? Or, did you know that 8.000 liters of water are needed to make a pair of jeans? Well, now you know!

Fabric Republic is a clothing management system that distributes clothes in good condition to vulnerable groups, while clothes in poor condition are recycled or being used to create accessories (like bags) and toys (like stuffed animals). This organisation was created in 2017 in Athens and is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Their goals are two: Το help poor and homeless people and other people in need by giving them clothes and to protect the environment. Their vision is to collectively develop social and ecological consciousness for a zero waste reality.

The process is simple. First of all, they collect clothes from specific clothing collection bins that they have placed around the city. They disinfect them, then they wash them and finally they categorize them, by gender and size. They pack and send them to organizations, to reinforce vulnerable citizens, instead of letting them being dumped by the waste management system.

We visited the headquarters of Fabric Republic in Nea Filadelfia, Athens, where Kakia Korovesi, the organisation’s contact person guided us. She showed us the place where they manage the clothes and explained the whole process to us. She also showed us the place where they train new volunteers. We could feel that this place is quite eco-friendly, as we noticed that even the decoration was made by clothes. Personally, I loved a couch with some messages about the protection of the environment written with spray on it and a green carpet that looked like grass. Mrs. Korovesi explained: “A lot of resources and effort are needed for every piece of clothing that is made. It is important that clothes do not end up in a dump, but get recycled, so that we can protect the environment”.

Recycling clothes is a big issue around the world. Unless we do something about the way we throw our old clothes away, the consequences for the ecosystem will be huge. It can cause problems like chemical pollution from industries or overuse of water, energy sources, fossil fuels and raw materials.

Photos by Mortaza Rahimi

Sabrina Hatzi