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DISCOVERING THE VALUE OF FASHION WASTE WITH MUST HAD

Staiy welcomes MUST HAD, a sustainable brand strongly devoted to reducing fashion and textile waste. Discover their unique value creation through the process of reuse and repurposing, commonly known as upcycling.

Words By Sophie Badaoui

03/07/2021

MUST HAD was born out of a strong collective commitment to fight against the fashion industry waste. Eugenio Riganti, Matteo Aghemo and Arianna Luparia merged their synergistic leadership skills to create value from reuse and repurposing of already existing clothing, leftover fabrics and deadstock. 

As the three founders share a common passion for sustainability, they were mind blown by the expertise of a laboratory in Torino which regenerates pre-owned wool and cashmere sweaters. This initiative triggered them to create something of their own that would also contribute to, in the founders’ own words, “a paradigm change where the desire for owning and purchasing at any costs shifts towards responsible choices.” Turning this into their ultimate mission explains the brand name MUST HAD as an opposing statement to the famous “must have” toxicity in the fast fashion culture. This way, they aim to make consumers understand the necessity of upcycling processes as a value creation of what already exists, instead of encouraging new waste generation every year. Plus, the brand’s business model serves to promote job opportunities for artisans and small entities, as most of MUST HAD’s partners are.

You see, when asked about their view on fast fashion, the founders underline the need for a shift from a linear business model (produce, use, waste) to a circular business model (produce, use, reuse). According to the founders, the change should also occur in the consumption culture, educating consumers about making more sustainable choices and setting transparency in regards to workers’ conditions.

In terms of aesthetics, each piece embodies quality and refinement, constituted from the regeneration of “prestigious leftover fabrics and high-end pre-owned clothing”, as the founders share. Indeed, each MUST HAD product is made of at least 70% of rescued materials, as the brand always prioritizes using fashion industry waste in their production process. However, the research and selection of this waste are two very meticulous processes which the brand takes religiously care of. Consequently, each product is the result of an artisanal process, highlighting its uniqueness or limited edition. “Craftsmanship, unicity, exclusivity, quality and reuse” are indeed the fundamental values on which the brand’s DNA is based.

As you might have already guessed, when it comes to sustainability, the founders define it as a state of mind, as a way to live as well as to inspire, to respect oneself, others and the environment. This principle is well implicated in the brand’s production process, as they give fashion and textile waste a second chance through the practices of upcycling. Moreover, they also ensure carbon neutral shipments of their products with a 100% recycled and recyclable packaging. 

Finally, the founders’ reflection on modern luxury in the industry today is based on the notion of consumer identity and an emotional connection between brands and consumers. As they mention, “today’s luxury purchasers are seeking to express who they are, rather than what they have. As a consequence, luxury is becoming less about buying branded things, but more about the stories and experiences surrounding the brand.”

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