The United Repair Centre London (URC London) has opened in the north of England’s capital, with the aim of transforming the apparel industry for the better.
Launching in Haringey on 1 November, URC London is the result of a collaboration between fashion brand Patagonia, and social impact groups United Repair Centre and Fashion-Enter.
The site, which will train people who have challenges finding employment, such as those with refugee backgrounds, in high quality clothing repairs, will provide a service for Patagonia in the first instance. But there is space for other brands to join Patagonia at the centre.
The inaugural United Repair Centre concept launched in Amsterdam in 2022, as the result of collaboration between Makers Unite, Amsterdam Economic Board, and Patagonia. URC Amsterdam currently handles 30,000 repairs per year from brands such as Decathlon, Lululemon, and Patagonia.
URC London said it is aiming to perform 30,000 repairs a year by 2025. The site is also benefiting from guidance from the British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion, as well as receiving circular economy support from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Thami Schweichler, CEO & founder of United Repair Centre, remarked: “The apparel industry has a bad reputation for the harms inflicted on the environment, and the people who make our clothes – but it doesn’t have to be this way.
“We must help customers keep their clothes in use for longer and practice conscious consumption in the future, if we are to have a living planet to do business on. And now, with the launch of URC London, we’re making it easy for responsible clothing brands to join the growing repair movement.”
Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion-Enter, commented: “Haringey in North London has a long history as a home of high-quality British garment manufacturing, but in the current market for cheaper production we could not maintain our high standards of quality or our ethical standards.
“We had to pivot the business quickly and be nimble! Now, we have an exciting collaboration to move into repairs. Our highly skilled team are absolutely delighted that they are contributing to a circular economy for fashion today.”
Patagonia offers its customers free repairs, which can be requested through a newly launched Repair Portal, and the business is viewed as a leader in helping make the fashion industry a more sustainable sector. It’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, has committed to all profit not reinvested back into the business to go towards eco-related causes.
Alex Beasley, country manager for the UK, Ireland & Nordics at the retailer, said: “At Patagonia, we’re in business to save our home planet but we know we can’t do this alone.
“With the launch of United Repair Centre London, we are looking to dramatically scale our impact and empower other clothing companies to move away from disposability and waste, and weave circularity into their business models.”
[Image credit: Green Retail World]