Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
There are over 3000 Garments factory in Pakistan alone and an average medium sized garments factory wastes about 10 tonnes of fabric each year. That's enough fabric to make 40-60 Million Garments. We'd like to use the leftover fabric to establish an affordable sustainable clothing brand.
WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"
What if we would clean-up our landfills, reduce harmful emissions, and satisfy an increasing demand for affordable sustainable goods – all while saving the planet, one garment at a time!
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
The project would like to address the issue of garment waste. Typically once an export order is shipped, the factory producing the garments ends up with leftover/ excess fabric due to various reasons i.e lot to lot shade variation, assorted packing requirements, late shipment, etc. Additionally almost all eco clothing brands charge a huge premium for their merchandise . We are trying to make sustainable garments more accessible and affordable.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
We are creating the highest quality garments that exclusively uses left-over production materials – everything from leftover fabric, yarn to zips, etc to produce their merchandise. We would like to create an online marketplace that will allow factory owner to create inventories of unused stock that they would like to sell to Polo Republica. The products made out of those leftover materials then will be sold on Polo Republica's own website at lower than the average market price. The website will also notify the customer about how much carbon footprint he saved by buying a particular item from Polo Republica instead of buying a garments that was made out of fresh fabric.
Featured in Top 100 Startups in Pakistan, Won £3,000 at City Starters Weekend in London
Impact: How does it Work
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
Amjad is a factory owner who exports garments to a mid level brand in USA. He received an order for 25,000 t shirts from his USA Buyer. According to his calculations he needed 11000 KG fabric. However when he received the fabric from the dyeing facility, the fabric's shrinkage was less than his expected calculation meaning that he had more fabric for his 25000 t shirts order. His buyer in USA only allows him that he will buy +/- 5% of the order amount. Where as now he has fabric for 28000 t shirts. Amjad is stuck with the excess fabric for 1750 t shirts. We buy that fabric at 25-50% of cost and make garments under Polo Republica that we sell online at low prices as it costed us quite a little for us to produce in the first place.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
We have sold over 150,000 garments made out of leftover fabric since we started this project in 2013. We have so far bought over 10 tonnes of fabric from various factories across Faisalabad. Trained over 75 female workers to operate in our factories and have so far sold garments worth $500,000.
The future impact of the project is saving more fabric from getting wasted that will be boasted by the addition of the leftover materials online marketplace which is still under development and training more women at the workplace so we can empower them. We are also trying to create a marketplace where factory owners can go online and sell their leftover stock and accessories to Polo Republica.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
We have had a great experience working with knitted fabrics and making garments out of them. We would like to expand in to leftover woven, towel, socks and leather fabrics within 2-3 years. Additionally, we would like to buy leftover fabric from other parts of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world and create more model factories where workers could be trained and make garments. We also hope to sell our garments abroad.
We would also like to create awareness amongst the masses around the world and clear the misunderstanding that sustainable clothing doesn't need to be more expensive.
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
It already is financial sustainable. We buy leftover fabric, design a garment, sell it and then buy new fabric. This cycle helps achieve the financial sustainability balance. The income from the garments sales help us run the women workers training center.
Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
There are no other companies or brands that we know of who make their clothes entirely of leftover fabric and accessories. Polo Republica's supply chain is completely transparent as the product is designed and marketed by the manufacturer itself. The company is not producing any new fabric or accessories to make garments as there already is a lot of unused fabric and accessories in Pakistan that can be used to make amazing garments out of.
I am Umar Qamar from Pakistan. Everybody in my family has to do something with textiles. It was natural for me to think about textiles all day. Every time I used to visit one of my family/ friends textile factory in Pakistan, I used to get annoyed by all the leftover fabric they had. So one day, I just thought lets try to make something out of it and voila "Polo Republica" was born.
I started working with the leftover fabric, we had available in my father's factory. We quickly designed some basic products like polos & t shirts and posted them online at Exportleftovers.com and to our surprise people loved our products and fell in love with our prices.
Umar Qamar- Founder/CEO -- Full Time
Qamar Aftab - Chairman -- Full Time
Salman Khawar - Managing Director-- Full Time
All of the team are part of one family who are actively involved in textile business for the last 30 years. Chairman, Mr Qamar Aftab has over 30 years of experience in textile business. The team members have expertise in fabric, sourcing, planning and marketing.
Mr. Umar Qamar has received an M.A in Business Studies from University of Edinburgh and is currently pursuing a M.Sc Degree from Cass Business School.
Mr Qamar Aftab has a Master's Degree in Management Information Systems from the prestigious Babson College in USA.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]
Raw Materials, Manufacturing, Consumption.
Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]
Advocate/Organizer, Designer, Factory Owner, Supplier - contractor.
Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]
Brands, Consumers, Factory Workers, Factory Owners.
Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.
Organizing, Other, [please specify].
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?
Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?
Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.
Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?
If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?
● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
Yes, Offering advice and tips to people who want to create a change.
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
Garments Factories of Pakistan, Young Designers, Bloggers & Exportleftovers.com