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Courtesy of Alina Bassi

Most textile waste is either burned or dumped into landfills. See how Kleiderly is saving it from a perilous fate and converting it into plastic coat hangers!


Words By Lida Ormol

November, 23rd 2020

Without a doubt, the waste problem within the fashion industry is a momentous one. If we want to see it thrive in the future, the industry must be completely redesigned. Today, the industry has the opportunity to embrace the principles of a circular economy. 

Showing us how circularity is done is Kleiderly, the Berlin-based start-up that launched in 2019. The label is entirely focused on finding a solution for the mountain of clothes being thrown away each year due to the fast-fashion culture. Through their newly developed patent-pending technology, the brand converts waste clothing into a replacement for oil-based plastics, saving volumes of clothes from being burned or buried in landfills.

Courtesy of Alina Bassi

With a Master’s in chemical engineering, Alina Bassi is the brains behind the brand, and Kleiderly’s founder. Since her studies, she has taken multiple career paths, working as an energy consultant, as well as a chemical engineer in industrial factories. It was a single trip to Tanzania in 2018 that propelled her to start her own company. She tells us that she came across masses of clothing donations that simply ended up in landfills, polluting their environment. I love the fashion industry and I like clothes,” she says, “but I feel cheated in a way that we are not able to consume responsibly.” 

“There is this huge pressure from society not to be seen wearing the same outfit twice. It’s easy to get caught up in that mentality, to the point where we lack confidence in owning the clothes we own!”

Alina Bassi

Courtesy of Alina Bassi

Alina is fighting to end clothing waste by producing recycled coat hangers. By collecting unsold, defective, or returned goods from large retailers and fashion brands, she uses her specialized technology to turn them into plastic before transforming them into coat hangers. So not only is Alina’s brand reducing the environmental impact caused by the disposal of clothes, it is decreasing the use of crude oil, the fossil fuel often used in the manufacturing of hangers.

Establishing such a company has not been easy for Alina, and just like many other entrepreneurs, she has faced her fair share of challenges. She started Kleiderly from nothing, by herself, having just left a steady job and with endless doubts around its feasibility. Sure enough, Alina proved herself big time, seeing her brand grow beyond her expectations. It is so important to share our ideas with others,” she emphasizes. “Anyone I met along the way helped me improve Kleiderly and I was able to build a strong network in Berlin. Having them around was inspiring as I got to learn about their stories and share mine in return.” 

As a society, we consume at an unprecedented rate, and it won’t be long until we reach a tipping point. Fast fashion brands are benefitting because we buy all these clothes at low prices but to the detriment of our planet. Instead, we should shift our behavior to buying less items but of higher quality.

Courtesy of Alina Bassi

Speaking of her current project, Kleiderly will soon be offering other innovative recycled products to big fashion retailers and consumers. Alina concludes that buying consciously means choosing brands that are sustainable not only in their production practices but in how they manage their unsold inventory.