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What if the future of fashion lies on up-cycling with the south Korean company RE;CODE?

4. Environment

Green design


Founded in 2012, RE; CODE is a clothing brand specializing in upcycling, giving added value to materials intended to be discarded. RE; CODE designs and manufactures clothes using particular stocks of goods in large quantities. Working with independent designers, agencies and charitable enterprises, RE; CODE restores value through re-Design materials such as paintings by parachutes of the army or the car airbags.


  • Reduce waste of fabrics
  • Show that implementing social/responsible businesses can be profitable
  • Raise awareness about sustainability among big companies to inspire them
  • Demonstrate that recycling can be fashionable


At each steps there is a social and environmental impact :

1) Raw materials: at first, RE;CODE used fashion dead stocks. Then, in order to improve productivity, they have to find other resources: they resort to industrial products (eg. seat cover and airbags), and military equipment (tents and parachutes).

2) Dismantling and washing process: as the task is simple and repetitive, they offer disabled people the opportunity to get a job in the company.

3) Design: they collaborate with 23 independent designers to create unique and limited edition. Each product is made of at least 4 to 7 recycled pieces that are reassembled to create a new fashion design.

4) Confection: the brand gives advantage to South-Korean sewers (instead of other Asian sewers) to promote the local activity.

5) Distribution: as up-recycling is a small market in Korea, they only have one boutique in their home country.  So they decided to expand abroad by opening corners in Department Stores, and exhibiting at international trade fairs.

6) Promotion: to promote their brand and social values, they have succeeded in sponsoring a local actress in a famous cinema festival. They have also implemented collaborations with famous designers and fashion brands like Blue Fit. Finally, they have created workshops in Meyong-Dong’s cathedral, to raise awareness among young people about environmental issues and the raised funds were then given to single moms.


  • The company remains viable today despite the problems of profitability regarding the impossibility of producing in big volumes
  • They have succeeded in creating a new business model.


  • Social: they favour local employment, and offer jobs to less privileged people. They also donate funds to charity.
  • Environmental: they reduce waste and pollution (fabrics are no longer burnt).
Republic of Korea


Kyung Ae Han, fondatrice

Mise à jour le 30/05/2016

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