What happens to the excess denim fabrics from alteration processes in UNIQLO stores in the Philippines? Everyday, UNIQLO collects denim fabrics from the customers who have their jeans altered. The scrap pieces of fabric are virtually unusable on their own, but UNIQLO Philippines and ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation (ALKFI) found a way to use them and do some good.
Dubbed as the ‘Upcycling Project’, UNIQLO and ALKFI are providing an economic opportunity for disadvantaged women to support their families. With some creativity and on-site instruction from UNIQLO’s sewing takumi (sewing experts), these women have designed beautiful and functional bags from the alteration fabrics, which in turn were purchased by UNIQLO. After several months of hard work, the first lot of 1,000 ‘upcycled’ denim bags is now complete.
“UNIQLO not only tries to make life better for our customers through high-quality products. We also want to support communities like the ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bayan ni Juan project in Calauan, Laguna,” says Katsumi Kubota, Chief Operations Officer, UNIQLO Philippines. “We want to give back to the community by providing training and an opportunity to empower these talented women.”
The women are from families who used to be an informal settler and lived along the polluted Pasig River in 2009. ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bayan ni Juan project relocated them to a community in Calauan, Laguna.
UNIQLO is committed to give back to communities and make the world a better place through the power of clothing. In 2006, UNIQLO began All-Product Recycling Initiatives globally, and from November 2015, the company also runs a special recycling campaign called ‘10 Million Ways to HELP,’ to collect lightly used UNIQLO clothes and distribute them for refugees and others in need worldwide. In addition, UNIQLO Philippines has its own unique program to help local communities, like the Upcycling Project.
“Through our Upcycling Project, we hope to restore the dignity among people and the environment, even in a small way,” Kubota adds.
These upcycled denim tote bags will be distributed to consumers as novelty items during UNIQLO Philippines’ events.
For more updates, please visit the UNIQLO Philippines’ website at www.uniqlo.com/ph and social media accounts, Facebook (facebook.com/uniqlo.ph), Twitter (twitter.com/uniqloph) and Instagram (Instagram.com/uniqlophofficial).