Looptworks is a Portland-based company that focuses on repurposing or upcycling, abandoned pre-consumer and post-consumer materials into limited edition products. They do not function like a typical business and strongly believe in designing with only what already exists.
The company has constantly been deviating waste from landfills by repurposing them and feeding it back to the system. All the raw materials that the company uses to make the products would have otherwise been sent to landfills or incinerators. The company has successfully intercepted these textile wastes and has transformed them into new, useful products through the process of upcycling.
Our recent interaction with Ron Hawk, the director of collaborative sales at Looptworks, reveals the deeper involvement of the company to ensure circularity.
YnFx: What is the story behind the brand?
Hawk: Looptworks was founded by Scott Hamlin in 2009. He came from the sports apparel and footwear industry and saw the massive amount of excess textile liabilities going to landfill for the brands he worked with. He wanted to do something about this useful waste, hence he founded our brand to use “Only What Already Exists”. Initially, we concentrated on upcycling excess post-consumer and pre-consumer materials into the new accessory and apparel products. We have since evolved to more circular solutions including closed-loop yarn development and downcycling into insulation and closed carbon capture energy. We sell directly to consumers and large corporate partners.
YnFx: What do consumers find most appealing about the brand?
Hawk: Our consumers and partners love that we are using existing materials to make a big dent in carbon and water savings and that our high-quality products are built to last. The stories that come along with each product - where the material is from, why it was deemed 'waste' or 'retired', and what it was upcycled into - are great conversation partners for each consumer as well.
YnFx: How does the company ensure garments stay in the loop?
Hawk: On the industry and business-level, we partner to help organizations implement closed-loop systems for their own products. This includes product collection, sorting, and then determining what the best solution is for each type. Then, on Looptworks' owned product level, we provide a lifetime guarantee for all products sold, encouraging our community to keep their items in play for as long as possible. Additionally, we are currently in the works to launch more consumer-solutions for when their product reaches the end of life or the consumer no longer needs it.
YnFx: How big a part do consumers play in the brand’s upcycling and re-purpose program?
Hawk: We have a passionate fan and customer base. They support our mission whole-heartedly and we, as much as possible, take their feedback and ideas and turn them into offerings.
YnFx: How does the company ensure the repurposed garments to be better than the original piece?
Hawk: When we upcycle excess textiles, our primary goals are to add value to the finished product and to design the product durably so it lasts many years. We thoroughly believe that a key part of climate solutions in this industry is decreased consumer-demand, so if our product lifecycle can last 3x-5x's longer than today's average, we call that a win. In regards to material quality, when we upcycle goods, the input textiles go through thorough QA, cleaning, and deconstruction to ensure they are viable inputs for the products we are making.
YnFx: What's next for Looptworks?
Hawk: Lots of big things are ahead for our team. We are in growth mode - focusing both on industry enhancements, more product and service offerings for our B2B partners, and an expanded DTC product-line. Every piece of the puzzle will be circular and our overall goal is to really bridge the gap between consumers, brands, manufacturers, and the planet.
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