Eco-Friendly Apparel: Regent Strikes Deal with Finnish Company
TRSA associate member Regent Apparel, San Francisco, is teaming up with Finnish apparel brand TouchPoint Oy to offer sustainable, circular uniform solutions to companies throughout the United States. The collaboration is led by two women entrepreneurs who are taking workwear solutions into a new era, not only by designing stylish garments from eco-friendly materials, but also by providing closed loop programs to its clients, according to a news release.
The new line features garments constructed out of fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles, cutting waste, and sustainably sourced eucalyptus pulp. Additionally, customers can return used uniforms to Regent’s Bay Area or New York Metro area location for recycling, diverting them from landfills and repurposing them into useful products. Plans also are in the works to take advantage of advancements in chemical recycling that will allow the garments to be broken down to fiber and spun into new yarn for new garments.
Family-owned Regent Apparel started in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood nearly 100 years ago and now has almost a century of experience manufacturing uniforms for restaurants and other businesses nationwide. And true to its California ethos, the company is committed to being environmentally friendly, taking care to recycle fabric scraps and minimize waste. Sharing the same values, Regent is excited to roll out new uniform solutions with Touchpoint that will help customers operate more sustainably. The company is particularly enthusiastic about the impact the program will have on the local textile recycling infrastructure.
“One of the biggest hurdles to making textile recycling more mainstream is the scarcity of sortable, homogenous materials,” said Regent partner Alexis Miller Lettis. “We are collecting large volumes of garments that will support the ability to scale new technologies and have a real impact on the growth of the textile recycling industry.”
Finland-based Touchpoint has a proven track record in rolling out sustainable uniform programs in Scandinavia over a decade for companies like Hesburger (Finland’s biggest restaurant chain), Body Shop, hotel chains and many other forerunner enterprises. As leaders in the industry, they are excited about partnering with Regent to bring their proven model to the U.S.
“Decision makers don’t necessarily realize that quality and affordable eco-products exist to meet all the expectations compared to traditional solutions,” said TouchPoint CEO Outi Luukko. “We at TouchPoint think that if you produce something tangible to this planet, you must have a sustainable and solid solution of how to dispose it. We also think that as a workwear company we have to be a part of the solution and not make it someone else’s problem at the end of the day. We would rather lead the way for new solutions.”
The apparel industry is often cited as the second-most polluting industry and 85% of clothing purchased in the United States ends up in a landfill. Retail brands are actively marketing sustainable clothing to individual consumers at a premium, yet little attention has been made on the uniform market where the duo will make a big impact since their customers buy in large volumes, the release noted.