Our Mission

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

Excess fabric scraps piled up together

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.

Earth from outer-space

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.

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

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.

INTEGRATED CIRCULARITY

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.

RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTION

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.

Our Materials

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.

EXCESS MATERIAL

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.

ECO-FRIENDLY STOCK

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.

CONVENTIONAL STOCK

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.

Protected Forests

BRANDING

Our hangtags are made with 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink. All branding and care labels are made with 100% recycled polyester.

PACKAGING

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. We use poly bags which are certified compostable and the paper materials within the packaging that are made from recycled materials and printed with soy ink. Whilst we are taking measures to ensure our packaging is sustainable, we still have some work to do with the plastic and paper packaging that gets sent directly from the factory on our handbags but we are working very hard to eliminate this in the near future. We will make sure to keep you updated!

SHIPPING

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?

INTERNAL LOGISTICS

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.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation Icon

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.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production Icon

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.

13. Climate Action Icon

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.

WE-AR4 Commitment to Protect Forests Through Our Paper, Packaging and Fabrics Choices

We aim to be as conscious of the materials we use for our packaging as we are with our fashion collections. Our packaging is intentionally minimal and practical. It is not meant to be luxurious but simply a way to protect your purchase as it travels to you. We are constantly looking for innovative ways to minimize our use of single-use and virgin plastic and paper.

Paper production can contribute to deforestation. Since our launch in 2021, we have prioritized using paper that is either FSC-certified or made from at least 50% recycled content in our packaging. We are committed to ensuring that the paper we use does not support the degradation or destruction of forest ecosystems, and that all the wood and paper we use comes from sustainably certified sources. We pledge to drastically reduce the plastic we use and that, by 2025, all the plastic that we use will be recyclable or compostable.

The Pack4Good Position Statement

We recognize that single-use packaging currently exerts an impact on ecosystems at the extraction point, during production, and at disposal. The reduction and reuse of paper and packaging is of paramount priority for the protection of the world’s limited forest resources. It is both imperative and possible to create changes in packaging use, sourcing, production, and end-of-product-use management to support the shift away from single-use plastics and enable conservation of Ancient and Endangered Forests.

Therefore, over the next year, WE-AR4, as a supporting partner of Canopy’s Pack4Good Initiative, commits to:

  • Ensuring the paper-based packaging we use does not include fiber sourced from Ancient and Endangered Forests [1] by end of year 2025
  • Acting immediately and engaging our suppliers to eliminate all products which are found to be sourced from Ancient and Endangered Forests, endangered species habitat or illegal logging
  • Sourcing forest fiber from forests certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) system, including any plantation fiber when recycled fiber and agricultural residue fiber are unattainable
  • Working to eliminate sourcing from tree plantations established after 1994 through the conversion or simplification of natural forests
  • Upcycling high quality deadstock materials (excess raw materials in the supply chain) into luxurious products is and will continue to be the foundation of our business model
  • Prioritizing innovative packaging design to reduce overall material needs
  • Giving preference to paper-based packaging with high-recycled content, specifically post-consumer waste content
  • Collaborating with innovative companies and Canopy to continuously expand the availability and development of next-generation solutions with a focus on agricultural residues and post-consumer recycled content.
  • Requesting that our suppliers recognize, respect, and uphold human rights and acknowledge the right of Indigenous People and rural communities to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
  • Supporting conservation solutions and seeking opportunities to inform the public on these issues and solutions through our marketing and communications
  • Adopting specific targets and timelines by the end of 2023 to track and report on our progress

WE-AR4 looks to have an immediate sustainable impact together with our suppliers, partners, and customers. We are committed to taking direct climate action and operating responsibly with the goal of giving consumers climate-conscious choices.

[1] Ancient and Endangered Forests such as the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests; Coastal Temperate Rainforests; tropical forests and peatlands of Indonesia, the Amazon and West Africa. Ancient and Endangered Forests are mapped in ForestMapper and further defined in A Quick Guide to Ancient and Endangered Forests