In the loop with... Katie Walsh & The Re-Pete Project
Tell us about The Repete Project… what’s the story behind its creation?
THE RE-PETE PROJECT is a circular fashion label which creates timeless, high quality, durable, unisex, waterproof yet breathable outerwear, starting with the Anorak. It is made entirely out of recycled single use plastic waste, and it is designed to be 100% recyclable - the anorak can be broken down, rewoven and remade like new - never ending on landfill, actively preventing plastic from landing in our oceans.
I'm a fashion designer. I studied in London, worked for Alexander McQueen before setting up my own internationally acclaimed labels which I ran for 8 years until I took time out to raise my family.
On my return to fashion I wanted to show people that great design does not have to be a compromise for the environment. I began researching extensively into how I could make a tangible difference to the planet through design when I learnt about The Circular Economy.
I choose to design out of single use plastics because I wanted to help with the ocean plastic crisis that is touching every corner of our planet.
Tell us a little bit more about your Circular Process?
Our anoraks are free from uncomplicated and unnecessary fastenings which make easy to recycle, each anorak is crafted using 29 recycled plastic bottles:
27 Recycled 0.5 Ltr PETE Bottles = Fabric made between Italy and Germany.
01 Recycled 0.5 Ltr PETE Bottle = Cord made in Holland.
01 Recycled 1 Ltr HDPE Bottle = Toggles handmade in Hackney from used milk bottles donated by local cafes.
At the end of each anoraks very long life it can be returned to us so it can be broken down, re-woven and remade like new in one of our northern European factories.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far in setting up The Re-Pete Project? Have you encountered any setbacks?
Covid was a challenge with being a single mum in lockdown with 2 kids to home school, it was hard trying to get my head into the mind set of launching this whole new idea and business. And without the contact of friends and peers around you to bounce ideas off of it was a challenge keeping up momentum and focus for sure.
In terms of set backs, I needed to find a new factory for production as the one I had in France was working at a quarter of its capacity due to covid BUT I did find a great new factory who are such a pleasure to work it so yes, it was a set back in time but it worked out for the best!
And, what’s been the best thing so far?
The support from my partnerships! I came from a fashion background where people keep their contacts close to their chest but with sustainability, we are all doing this for a bigger reason, to make a real positive impact on the environment and it really is eco over ego! I love it! I'm sharing my findings also so that others have easy access to ecological suppliers too.