Changes in consumption patterns are an integral part of our world and play a significant role in determining the sustainable future of the planet. Take for instance, the words reuse and repair, which are much more valued words today. These have totally changed the way we use objects in the world of décor or fashion.
Recently, sports brand Decathlon reversed its letters and changed the name to ‘Nohltaced’ in Belgium for one month starting October 10. The idea is to allow customers to reverse shopping where they can resell old or unused sporting goods to Decathlon so that they can be repaired and resold in the store under warranty. The stores in three Belgian cities: Evere, Namur and Ghent, have changed names so far.
Such activations from the brand promote the idea of resell, repair and rent in an environmentally conscious way, and the whole concept is to reuse as much equipment as possible to reduce environmental impact and avoid waste, and allow consumers to buy good-quality sports equipment at lower prices. Though reverse branding has been in the advertising and brand world for more years, these tactics are either believed to sell more products or simply promote sustainable shopping. In many ways, it promotes what the brands’ focus is. In the case of Decathlon, they want to promote and focus the ethos of the brand as a whole as well as resonate with social responsibility and ethical values.
Though this name change may seem like a marketing stunt, Decathlon’s press statement says the aim is to change the consumption pattern which is “to reuse as many items as possible, lower the threshold for second-hand and increase purchasing power”. A creative reuse for otherwise wasted materials can be incorporated while rethinking or recreating items like T-shirts and water bottles, décor, etc.
As brands promote the idea of repair by upcycling factory waste into short limited-edition collections that can benefit the sector, it also helps in a way to recycle post-consumer waste and post cutting scraps to new fabrics.
Similarly, Delhi-based Doodlage is a sustainable fashion brand that creates season-less well finished garments, upcycles waste to create accessories, soft furnishing products and paper to make packaging or stationery products. The fabrics are made with ethical production units and packaging is designed to be plastic free. They have also launched the first handwoven and plant dyed saree collection online under the campaign called “So Susheel” to help revive saris that have been tucked away at the back of the closet by redesigning them into garments one can wear again. The brand promotes to upcycle more, buy less.
Doodlage is also working on a repair centre for sporting goods retailer Decathlon in Bengaluru to save all in-store defects and customer returns and give them a second life.
The repair and rescue culture is also prevalent in the world of art and culture. An exhibition titled “R for Repair” at the London Design Festival this year, showcases objects that people have kept and repaired. The exhibits propose a strong culture of preservation and the art of repair.
To encourage a repair culture, the exhibition addresses global waste output and the need to rethink our relationship to objects and how creative repair can both preserve meaning and breathe new life into our possessions. The exhibition primarily questions the idea of “why do we hold on to things that no longer work? What makes us cherish and keep possessions? And can repair add new meaning and value to an object?”
The designers from the UK and Singapore have worked on damaged objects donated by the public which include: a broken camera, antique sewing chest, children’s wall clock, wedding glass and more.
“What interests me with this project is how we can create a richer understanding of repair culture. It celebrates the possibilities of repair as a creative process, something that adds new layers to an object’s identity and meaning – addressing the ’emotional’ as well as the ‘functional’.” says co-curator, Jane Withers on the project website.