This is the sustainability model that the fashion industry has long been waiting for.
According to studies, Americans alone will have produced some 34.5 billion pounds of textile waste by 2019. Even worse, most of these items go to landfills, where they’ll decompose and release harmful substances into the environment.
Enter Kristy Caylor, whose clothing startup For Days hopes to help us cut down on pollution via an innovative zero-waste, closed-loop system.
Here’s how it works. The brand uses a t-shirt subscription service wherein customers can order three, six, or 10 new organic cotton shirts for US$12 (AUS$15), US$24 (AUS$30), and US$36 (AUS$47) a month, respectively.
Once the shirts are worn out, stretched, or stained, you can send the pieces in the same, recycled packaging back to For Days using for new ones (in different styles, sizes, and colours, even).
The old shirts you just returned are cut up, cleaned, and broken down into pulp to create upcycled thread used for new shirts. This process makes the brand the fashion industry’s first-ever closed-looped system, meaning nothing is ever thrown away, and old becomes new, new becomes old.
“I often question the future and believe the time is now to rethink our relationship to commerce,” said Caylor, in an interview with Teen Vogue.
“Our current model of produce, purchase, pollute doesn’t make sense, and isn’t sustainable or efficient. I hope people feel empowered to participate, because our members are the most exciting piece of the puzzle — by joining, requesting, refreshing, and returning, each member becomes a little center for circularity.”
Lost At E Minor recently spoke to Caylor to find out more about their revolutionary idea.
Where did you get the idea for your startup, For Days?
“I wanted to create a new model for commerce that would shift industry behavior and empower people to connect to product in a new way. Our current model of produce, purchase, pollute doesn’t make sense, and isn’t sustainable or efficient.
“What if we could have everything we want without creating waste? What if we are empowered to accumulate impact rather than clutter? What if we liberate ourselves from the burden of ownership and go live our lives?
“I was also in the process of moving apartments, and had that massive ‘purge’ moment where I needed to de-clutter. I gave away clothes to friends, and sold things to The Real Real and Buffalo Exchange. But I was still left with a pile of undignified donations—things like pit-stained tees, single socks, and stretched out pajamas. These items have no residual value, and certainly no sentimental value.
“I thought about how convenient it would be if basics like this could float in and out of our lives when we needed them, and they could be recycled and repurposed when we were finished. I could have what I needed, when I needed it, without the guilt when I was finished with it.
“So I developed this concept, based on a closed loop system, which allows you to have everything you need without creating waste.”
Your subscription system is really unique, especially in the fashion industry. Could you tell us why you chose this particular business model?
“It was really a culmination of about 15 years of experience in the fashion industry. I wanted to do something that would drive the industry forward through the lens of innovation and sustainability, but also that would connect with the customer.
“I’m convinced that we need a new model for consumption, something bigger that would have industry-wide implications. So, at the highest level, For Days was my reaction to the question ‘What does the future of commerce look like?’ And then we set out to build it.”
Right now you’re only selling shirts. Do you have plans on making other items like jeans, socks, etc.?
“For now we’re focusing on tees, but we’re looking into socks and other basics in the very near future. We have to stick to cotton-based products to maintain the integrity of the product and materials we’re upcycling, but as we grow the goal is really to have as many types of products in this system as possible.”
What do you hope for this startup to become or mean for people?
“As life gets increasingly complicated, we shouldn’t feel burdened by owning so much stuff. This is a new operating system for living, and we hope to challenge the status quo. If we engage and empower the user by giving them alternative choices, we can eventually shift our relationship to commerce and make a big change.”
Where do you see For Days a few years from now?
“We see this as a platform for circular consumption. We will expand as far as we can innovate on materials, manufacturing and upcycling and welcome partnerships and collaboration as we grow. We really wanted to set the stage with this idea, where we can control the input, and hopefully lead by example in showing that this can be done.
“The basics market is a great place to start with this model, but you can imagine your life expanding and contracting exactly as you need it, and when you need it, over time.”