Umbrellas are a must have for keeping dry but when they break or reach the end of their life it can be difficult to recycle them due to their many different parts and materials.
But R-Coat has come up with a brilliant solution to turn umbrellas into fashion, in the form of jackets and accessories including hats.
Since their inception in 2018, R-Coat have rescued over 1200 umbrellas which they have sourced from collection points across Portugal and Italy.
Let's hear from them about their bright and colourful designs that keep the planet in mind.
Why did you begin R-Coat? Where did you get the idea to recycle umbrellas?
In 2017 the founder, Anna Masiello (zero waste influencer hero_t0_0) began her journey towards a zero waste lifestyle and started noticing broken umbrellas on the streets during rainy days. She knew they were not recyclable and would end up incinerated so she took all the broken umbrellas home and made a coat out of them. She didn't have any experience in design or sewing so the first R-Coat was not perfect, but it was enough to get the attention of people, open the first collection points for broken umbrellas and start to collaborate with professionals in the area.
What does upcycling mean to you and to your brand?
To us, upcycling means seeing value in what other people only see trash. With creativity, trash doesn't exist. Upcycling is a great way to give new life to things, such as broken umbrellas, that would otherwise end up in landfills or burned.
We have enough items of clothing on this planet to clothe the next six generations! So how does your brand deal with waste and reduce the amount of virgin materials used?
We only use the water-resistant fabric of broken umbrellas for the outside part and we lined the products with deadstock fabric we receive from a textile factory, that would otherwise be thrown away. Even the buttons and stoppers are not entirely made with virgin materials and are 30% recycled.
Is there a particular collection you're especially proud of? Tell us more!
Where do you see R-Coat in 5 years time?
We see R-Coat being a very well known upcycling brand, saving thousands of umbrellas every year and creating high-quality fashion, proving that fashion can be circular.