The Glasgow fashion brand out to save our denim blue planet

Arkdefo
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A fashion brand wants people to hand over their worn-out denim clothing – and stop it going to landfill.

Andrew and Elizaveta Bennett, who are behind Arkdefo, cut up and repurpose old jeans and jackets in to new designs.

And the couple, who recently relocated to Glasgow, have started a #donatedenim campaign to save more of the material.

Andrew said the brand was on a mission to ‘slow down’ the fashion industry and make people think about the clothes they buy – and where they end up.

“We are collecting old denim to save it from landfill and hope to inspire discussion and raise awareness of clothes recycling, or lack of. 

“The system cannot cope anymore as big brands make too much.

“But we hope people realise we can all contribute in small ways to slow it down.”

The Bennetts have researched what happens to our textile waste and how much gets recycled.

They say what they discovered was “heartbreaking” and that textile recycling doesn’t exist in this country. 

“Charity shops don’t want bad quality fast-fashion donations, and 80% of all the donations are getting shipped to the landfills in Africa and Eastern Europe.

“People buy four times more clothes than 20 years ago and High Street brands are creating new collections every week. 

New designs from old denim. Photo: Arkdefo

“Every second a bin lorry full of textile waste adds to the landfill, just think of it. 

“And nobody seems to be interested in it, out of sight, out of mind. 

“Well, we are interested!”

The couple upcycle used denim it into new designer garments and interior accessories. 

‘Slow down’

They cut all the denim up and restitch it into new material with nothing going to waste. 

It is hard work and takes a long time, but the Bennetts think they have created a truly zero waste working model.

The brand started with online sewing and fashion design courses.

Cut up: old material is stitched together to make new fabric. Photo: Arkdefo

“We wanted more people to slow down, take a step back and enjoy learning the forgotten craft. 

“We created online classes with simple and easy to follow techniques to prove the point that dressmaking is not rocket science and one hand-made top will last much longer than any fast-fashion t-shirt,” said Andrew.

The couple now live in the West End and make their garments at their home-based workshop.

‘Charity shops don’t want bad quality fast-fashion donations, and 80% of all the donations are getting shipped to the landfills in Africa and Eastern Europe’

Andrew Bennett

He said: “We were previously based in Edinburgh, but have recently relocated to Glasgow and we love it.

“Glasgow has much more to offer and has a better vibe. People have been extremely helpful!

“We chose denim as our starting point because it is iconic and very durable. 

The clothes are now made in the West End of Glasgow. Photo: Arkdefo

“Most people will have some denim in their wardrobe, maybe several pairs, and a lot of it wears thin in the same way – between the legs. 

“It’s the same old problem. Lower quality denim has elastane in it which means it wears away quicker. 

“Holes between the legs mean you can’t even make shorts, but the rest of the material is still good. 

‘New life’

“That is where we come in and why we started #donatedenim.

“We ask people to give us their old jeans so that we can give them a new life and thus put them back into the system – close the circle.”

Arkdefo will take any size, any colour, jeans, skirts, shorts, jackets.

Elizaveta and Andrew with some of their designs. Photo: Arkdefo

Anyone who’d like to save their old jeans from the landfill destiny can get in touch via email: donatedenim@arkdefo.com

Arkdefo will be releasing its first denim collection this summer.


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