Ideas. Inspiration. Interaction. That is what Minimum Waste is essentially about and what we want to emphasise with our series ’Planet Hero’, where we introduce you to everyday change-makers in our world’s wasteland.
Today's fashion industry could be called a catastrophe - cotton production, environmentally demanding processes, transport, bad quality and short lifetime of our clothes, which end up on a landfill way to earlier than they should. Add the omnipresent marketing pressure that makes us buy more and more useless pieces of clothes and you end up with piles of textile waste.
From the lifetime point of view, our worst enemy is surprisingly something as cute as baby clothes. Which grandma, auntie or friend wouldn't resist buying a brand new adorable piece for the little one! The fact that the baby will grow too big for it in a few months is well known and no one seems to be bothered by that. Our planet is bothered though - this is a big problem from the environmental point of view.
The Danish entrepreneur Vigga Svensson tried to answer the question how can we make baby clothes more sustainable? So, what makes her brand Vigga different?
The fact that her clothes have all the certifications that they are organic and have been produced ethically? Nah, this is nothing special nowadays. What makes Vigga different is their business model - they don't sell clothes, but rent it.
How does it work? You can buy a subscription already during pregnancy and you will get the first supply of tiny clothes before the child is born. Later on, when the baby is growing bigger, you'll get another supply of a different size and send the previous one back to Vigga. They wash the clothes carefully before they send them to a new address.
The first benefit of this circular model is clear: every piece of clothes is reused which saves our natural resources (one piece is worn by 5-7 children on average). Another advantage is the affordable price - you don't need to pay a fortune for a beautiful, design children gear anymore, because you only pay the rental fee.
Nevertheless, as in the case of every shared economy based model, there are certain requirements that Vigga needs to fulfil: The brand has to focus on the quality and choose good materials, so that the clothes last long and they have the time to make a profit from it. Another prerequisite is the trust of all the people involved in the system. The client takes something that was worn by somebody else's child and therefore he needs to fully trust the producer that he had cleaned it perfectly. Similarly, the producer has to trust his clients that they will return the clothes in good condition - therefore Vigga's customers pay an insurance in case the clothes gets damaged or lost.
Vigga's ambition is to reduce the environmental footprint by 80% compared to conventional textile companies. However, we see its biggest benefit in inspiring the new brand generations to adopt circular models.