Rapanui Clothing: A Source of Environmental Inspiration Sewn into its Corporate DNA

The importance of sustainability is a rapidly growing movement in the fashion industry. In our consumer driven era, markets are dominated by a fast fashion model encouraging mass production and as a consequence mass disposal. Figures from Sweden show that the average consumer purchases approximately 15 kilos of textiles a year, while disposing 8 kilos.

Rapanui Clothing, founded by Rob and Mart Drake-Knight in 2009, turns these concerns into action by introducing a business model that revolves around sustainability with a strong vision of environmental consciousness. The UK-based company aims to shed light on the problem of mass disposal and inspire all market actors involved by offering a range of products made of organic or recycled materials, low waste printing technologies and production in wind-powered factories.

The brand is committed to transparency and traceability in all their products. The customers are given a detailed supply chain story including exactly where, how and by whom the clothing is made and delivered to Rapanui. As a result, customers are informed and able to make environmentally conscious decisions, which mitigates the issue of consumers lacking information about eco fashion.

In addition, Rapanui uses an eco label scale, reflecting how well the products respond to different requirements for sustainability. By introducing this A-E scale, customers are given another tool for evaluation of clothes. The company sets the bar high and aims to get the European Union on board, to include the eco-labelling scale in future legislation.

Furthermore, Rapanui is embracing a circular sustainability model by encouraging customers to return their worn out clothes in return for store credit. Through this “Back to Rapanui campaign,” the company takes control over the last step in the product circle.

Eco fashion brands, such as Rapanui Clothing, gives us clear proof of the possibilities of incorporating sustainability into the core of fashion, while simultaneously generating customers and staying profitable.


About the Author:

Jonna Haeggblom is a student at Lund University in Sweden, where she is pursuing a B.Sc. in business administration, and is hoping to further explore sustainability studies on master level. She is passionate about sustainable fashion and is eager to broaden her knowledge in start-ups innovating and transforming human perception within this field.

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