Designing Apparel and Gear for Repair   - Outdoor Industry Association
Sustainable Business

Designing Apparel and Gear for Repair

How your design decisions can keep apparel and gear out of the landfill and active in the mountains for years to come.  

By Nikki Hodgson Jul 19, 2017

Americans throw out a staggering 13 million tons of textile waste each year. 

The EPA estimates that diverting those textiles into a recycling program would be the environmental equivalent of  taking 7.3 million cars and their carbon emissions off the road 

OIA Industry Lunch: Designing With Repair In Mind 

11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.—Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salon D 

Repairing outdoor gear since 1986, Rainy Pass Repair has seen its fair share of gear failures and has learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to maintaining and repairing outdoor gear. Join us for this hour-long seminar to hear from the repair experts about what they’ve learned from over 30 years of repairing gear and how to design for durability and repair. 

Watch Live or On-Demand

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The environmental cost associated with textile waste is one reason the OIA Sustainability Working Group has been working diligently for years to think through both the durability of our products as well as what happens at the end of their life. Through our Circular Economy Task Force and by partnering with organizations like The Renewal Workshop, we hope to keep apparel out of the landfill by repurposing, repairing and reselling products that might otherwise be discarded. But designers have an important role to play as well, and this role happens long before a product ends up in consumers’ hands.  

When we talk about sustainability in the outdoor industry, durability is an incredibly important factor in determining the environmental impact of a product. For example, the Higg Index—the industry sustainability tool designed to help brands and facilities of any size or persuasion harmonize and communicate the environmental and social impact of their supply chains—has a section dedicated to a brand’s policies around care and repair of its products.  

Outdoor industry companies typically score higher in the durability, care and repair sections than other industries, but we think we can do better and believe that designers have an important role to play in helping companies improve the environmental performance of products. Which is why we are excited to host a design and repair seminar at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market with Rainy Pass Repair.  

Brands receive more points within the Higg Index if they have product repair programs in place like Patagonia’s Worn Wear Program or iFixit Guides. But brands also receive points if they have design standards in place to provide guidance or incentives for design considerations to maximize product features that are repairable and upgradable (e.g. replacement buckles, zipper pulls, components and accessories).  

Using the Higg Index, OIA has been tracking industry scores for two years. Outdoor industry companies typically score higher in the durability, care and repair sections than other industries, but we think we can do better and believe that designers have an important role to play in helping companies improve the environmental performance of products. Which is why we are excited to host a design and repair seminar at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market with Rainy Pass Repair.  

Rainy Pass Repair is a sewing repair shop in Seattle, Washington, specializing in outdoor gear repairs and modifications. This includes rain gear, ski wear, tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and more. Repairing outdoor gear since 1986, Rainy Pass Repair has seen its fair share of gear failures and has learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to maintaining and repairing outdoor gear.  

Lindsey Stone of Rainy Pass Repair will be leading an OIA Industry Lunch on Designing with Repair in Mind on Friday, July 28, from 11:30am – 1:00pm at the Marriott Downtown at City Creek. During this seminar, Lindsey will share what repair experts have learned from over 30 years of repairing gear. Attendees will walk away from this seminar with insights on how to better design for durability and repair. Whether you have adopted the Higg Index or not, come learn how you can make design decisions that help keep outdoor gear out of landfills and accompanying outdoorists on adventures for years to come.  

OIA Industry Lunch: Designing With Repair In Mind 

11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.—Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salon D 

Repairing outdoor gear since 1986, Rainy Pass Repair has seen its fair share of gear failures and has learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to maintaining and repairing outdoor gear. Join us for this hour-long seminar to hear from the repair experts about what they’ve learned from over 30 years of repairing gear and how to design for durability and repair. 

Watch Live or On-Demand

brandlive-sidemodule