Our mission is to create planet-responsible choices that you’d want to buy regardless of their impact or backstory. We do this by turning the traditional design process inside out. Instead of developing new materials, we rescue existing ones. We “thrift” high-quality leathers and luxury textiles that are left over from other brands and past seasons.
By repurposing these excess materials, also known as deadstock, into authentically considered essentials, we avoid carbon emissions related to the production of new materials. The most important part of this process is you. If we don’t make something you want to wear or carry, we’re just creating more waste. That’s why design and quality are as important to us as climate-conscious decisions.
WE-AR4 PLANET RESPONSIBILITY
WE-AR4 THE FUTURE OF FASHION
All About Excess
WHAT ARE EXCESS MATERIALS?
Excess materials—which go by a few other names like deadstock or surplus—are textiles and leathers that are left unused each season. They’re mostly an inevitable byproduct of processes in the fashion supply chain, such as minimum order quantities or less-than-efficient decision making.
WHY ARE YOU USING EXCESS?
As the climate crisis worsens, the fashion industry is finding ways to operate more sustainably. We see an opportunity to have an immediate positive impact. Using materials that already exist is a simple and direct way to be more sustainable.
IS THIS UPCYCLING?
Not quite. Upcycling refers to material of lower quality being elevated through design into a high-quality product. We like to think of our process as equicycling since we’re repurposing high-quality materials into equally high-quality products.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR EXCESS MATERIAL?
We’re working with many different suppliers. We’re excited to have Italian mill Limonta as an active partner in this effort. Because of our long-standing relationships, we have direct access to high-quality excess.
HOW EXACTLY DOES USING EXCESS MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS PLANET-RESPONSIBLE?
It’s all in the numbers. The process of creating materials—both textiles and leather—can drive up to 80% of a product’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). That’s not a typo. By using available excess materials, we dramatically reduce the environmental impact of our products, compared to a handbag or garment made in the traditional way.
Our Way of Doing Good
DESIGN THAT ENDURES
Our clothes and accessories are designed to last, with timeless style and a high level of durability that stems from luxury materials and production excellence.
By using available excess materials, we reduce the amount of materials that would have a negative impact when stored or destroyed. Using excess also means that our products start their lifecycle with a very limited carbon footprint. We carefully select non-excess materials, including trim and packaging, prioritizing sustainability.
We enable customers to quickly and easily sell and buy pre-loved WE-AR4 pieces in the RE-AR4 section on our site. We mostly use thrifted clothes and accessories to style our photo shoots. These items will be sold through RE-AR4, which will go live later this fall.
We consider both environmental and social welfare throughout our production supply chain. We manufacture either closest to where the raw materials are available or locally in New York City. Since we’re just starting out, we use factories that meet the requirements of brands we know and admire. Establishing our own code of conduct for suppliers is a priority. We’ll update you as we make progress.
WE-AR4’s design process starts with materials. Our first step is to source existing excess textiles and leathers because that’s our most planet-responsible option. We use excess to make about 85% of our collection. As we work our way to 100%, we use other materials, listed here, in order of preference, from most to least.
These high-quality textiles and leathers, an inevitable by-product of the supply chain, are left over from other brands and past seasons. The pre-consumer materials are sometimes referred to as deadstock, though our excess is more recently produced, usually within the past five years.
Materials are typically custom-ordered by brands but some textile mills have stock programs that allow a brand to buy exactly what it needs, without having to meet minimum order quantities – which often result in unused excess. When we buy from the suppliers’ replenishment stock programs (aka conventional stock programs), we look for mills that offer low-impact content: materials that are organic, recycled or renewable.
CUSTOM SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS
We occasionally have to order custom materials. When we do, we prioritize low-impact content such as the Repreve recycled nylon that we use for handbag linings. We’ll take responsibility for any excess and will work to limit waste.
Materials that are readily available through stock programs. We hope to never get down here, but we’ll always let you know.
CUSTOM CONVENTIONAL MATERIALS
Non-sustainable leather or textiles that are made specially for us. This is our very last option, but again, we’ll always be transparent about it.
Our hangtags are made with 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink. All branding and care labels are made with 100% recycled polyester.
Our packaging is intentionally minimal and practical. It’s not meant to be luxurious but simply a way to protect your purchase as it travels to you. Our poly bags are biodegradable. All paper materials within the package are made from recycled materials and printed with soy ink. Ribbons are made from 100% recycled polyester. Lastly, our stickers are made from recycled paper though the glue isn’t eco-friendly.
We offer UPS Carbon Neutral Shipment, which supports projects that offset the emissions from shipping your package. If you choose that option, we’ll cover the cost. Overnight and 2-day shipping is available, though we don’t encourage it. We humbly think our products will be essential to your wardrobe for years to come. What’s a day here or there when you’re starting a long-term relationship?
We’ve made an effort to reduce the transportation required between the material source, the production site and distribution center. Because of complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, we currently transport materials and goods by air. That’s not ideal. Our goal is to ship everything by sea and to work on reducing the total amount of transportation required.
How We Align to the UN's SDGs
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 by all United Nations Member States, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership.
As part of our work to create climate-positive impact through fashion, we recognize the importance of the UN SDGs, and how we can contribute. We have identified three SDG’s we feel our actions credibly contribute towards, and we will detail progress in our annual Sustainability Report.
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
By creating products with materials that are already in existence, we avoid using the water needed to dye and finish new materials.
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Circularity principles are embedded into our business through the use of materials already in existence. From day one, we want to provide customers with products that will last, and to give them a way to extend their use through our resale platform RE-AR4.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
We are actively working to reduce our carbon footprint by making business decisions that lead to climate-positive outcomes, with ambitions to continue to reduce our carbon footprint as we move forward.