Thread Together – A Socially Equitable Solution To Fashion’s Waste Problem

Source: Australian Circular Economy Hub.

The Australian Circular Textiles Association estimates that 30 per cent of clothing is never sold. With stores closed due to COVID, McKinsey & Company estimates that a massive €140 billion to €160 billion ($220-250 billion AUD) in excess inventory is currently sitting in warehouses around the world. These mountains of clothing could make their way to landfill or even be incinerated, with global retailers exposed for burning ‘dead stock’ in the past.

While major brands have way too much clothing, members of the public often don’t even have access to the essentials. In Australia, an estimated 3.24 million people live below the poverty line. That is one in eight adults and one in six children without the resources to cover their basic needs, including the ability to purchase new clothes for work or school.

Australian not-for-profit Thread Together is tackling both problems by redistributing excess retail stock to those in need. The organisation gives disadvantaged Australians the opportunity to shop for new clothing, an experience that restores a sense of autonomy and dignity for people who are doing it tough. In addition to generating social benefits, this service helps to close the loop within the wasteful linear system of clothing production.

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