We believe that building a sustainable future for people and planet is not about demanding perfection, but in committing to a work in progress ethic through collaboration. We partner with merchants, designers, and purpose-led organisations based on criteria structured around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and principles for radical transparency emphasising where products were made and who made them. All partners on RETURE must provide evidence of meeting our criteria, outlined below, which focus on conscious materials (including second-hand and upcycled pieces), being community positive, and implementing green processing. If you would like to recommend a brand please contact us here or if you wish to apply yourself, please visit our account overview page.
1. Recycled or upcycled materials: RETURE began as the first upcycling platform in premium fashion and reviving garments to relove them remains one of our core principles. With the equivalent of one rubbish truck full of textile landfilled or incinerated each second, reusing materials is one of the biggest opportunities for creative and sustainable innovation. We welcome upcycling focused brands as well as merchants selling premium second-hand pieces.
See SDG Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
2. And/Or natural materials: The use of organic, natural and regenerative materials not only leads to timeless design, they also leave less of a footprint at the end of their life cycles than synthetic alternatives. In the case of regenerative materials, fashion has the ability to be carbon negative with soil sucking CO2 from the atmosphere. We welcome partners committed to sourcing ethical natural materials, with an emphasis on low-environmental impact and longevity.
See SDG Goal 13: Climate Action
We do not accept merchants or designers who are producing with virgin synthetics such as polyester or lycra which can take hundreds of years to biodegrade (versus cotton which takes about one to five months.) Additionally, synthetic clothes contribute up to 35% of the primary plastic that is polluting our oceans due to laundry microfibre shedding. Although we are working towards a non-synthetics based future, we do accept partners working with recycled synthetics at this stage.
See SDG Goal 14: Life Below Water
We support cruelty-free brands, as well as those that have prioritised investing in their supply chains and promote the five animal freedoms. If relevant to the product, demonstrating high-standards for animal husbandry is essential. We accept non-vegan products such as sustainable leather and wool which are naturally biodegradable.
See SDG Goal 15: Life on Land
Community, along with collaboration and craft, defines our vision and guides our way of working. We welcome partners who share this ethos, by ensuring makers, suppliers, and collaborators are paid fair living wages and that communities are receiving financial and nonfinancial gains due to local production.
See SDG Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
Following standards and certifications such as Bluesign, EU Ecolabel, Nordic Swan, and Oekotex, our criteria for green processing highlights that products are made using environmentally conscious processes or technologies, for example, by using renewable energy.
See SDG Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
- Demonstrates use of conscious materials (such as recycled, upcycled, organic, or regenerative materials)
- Demonstrates virgin synthetic materials are not used
- Demonstrates animal welfare
- Demonstrates community positive ethos
- Demonstrates green processing