Collaborative redesign of used clothes as a sustainable fashion solution and potential business opportunity

Kristy A. Janigo, Juanjuan Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Consumers’ clothing disposal decisions have lasting ecological effects because the decomposition process of certain materials may take many years. Unfortunately, in the USA, much post-consumer used clothing is discarded into landfills at the end of the use life cycle rather than recycled, with little consideration of these impacts. The primary aim of this mixed methods study was to explore a process involving consumers in redesigning their used garments as a sustainable alternative to disposal and to develop a process that future entrepreneurs might follow when starting a new clothing redesign business. Redesign requires deconstruction and reconstruction of a garment, which is a more involved process than alterations a tailor might make to improve a garment’s fit. Redesign could vary by the extent of the garment’s change, from adding minor design details such as a decorative trim, to changes of the garment’s silhouette such as adding a peplum, and to complete transformation of the garment’s original purpose such as changing from a dress to a top. Twenty-seven women (ages 18-62, 89 percent Caucasian) participated in focus groups and the collaborative redesign process, in which the used clothing were redesigned. As a result of their evaluative responses following the redesign, the women remarked they were comfortable with used clothing and were interested in using a redesign service in the future. Participants were mostly satisfied with their redesigned garment and reported they will continue to wear their garments for a mean of approximately two years. Many (52 percent) suggested redesign could be marketed as a social experience to commemorate life events (i.e. engagement or marriage).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-97
Number of pages23
JournalFashion Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Co-design
  • Fashion
  • Redesign
  • Sustainability


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