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ReCoding your wardrobe

By Press Club


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Picture: DressCode, courtesy of the brand.

What is DressCode Shirts?

DressCode Shirts makes high quality shirts for men and women. Our style is often described as GeekLuxe – tech inspired designs meets hand-crafted luxury tailoring. We were the first business to bring wearable technology into shirts with the CashCuff in 2019. We pioneered sustainable materials with the British Antarctic Survey and Professor Ed Hawkins with the Climate Code shirt for COP26, this experience has encouraged us to further develop the environmental credentials of the business.

Our first development was to launch a ‘made on demand’ service (2022) – where we only make what is ordered by our ciustomers. Following the success of this concept we wanted to increase the ways in which we can upcycle and re-use materials, bringing ReCode to life, our brand new upcycling service. Our goal for this project was to develop a recycling based, high quality, sustainable fashion product.

Picture: DressCode, courtesy of the brand.

Awareness of the environmental issues

We are all more aware of the environmental challenges. Climate change is having a big impact on the daily lives of everyone, everywhere on the planet. In response we have developed our business towards minimising the impact of our activities on the planet.

Individually we can make a significant impact towards achieving the UN targets through our adoption of a more sustainable lifestyle, this includes our fashion choices. Upcycling is an excellent way to do this.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of transforming discarded or unused materials into new products. Sometimes these second generation garments will be higher in value, due to the materials and the skills used. Other times it’s about improving the quality of the garment. It's a form of recycling, instead of breaking down the materials, they are repurposed and given a new life.

The benefits of upcycling in Fashion are HUGE!

Reducing waste

By far the biggest benefit of upcycling clothing is the reduction in waste. The fashion industry is notorious for its waste, with millions of tons of textiles ending up in landfill every year.

Saving resources

Upcycling saves resources. Creating new clothes consumes significant volumes of water, energy and raw materials. Upcycling can reduce this demand and help protect our planet's delicate balance.

Promoting creativity

Upcycling is a great way to express your creativity. This is the very definition of bespoke! You are creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect your personal style.

Saving money

Finally, upcycling can save you money. Instead of buying new clothes, you can repurpose old ones, reducing your overall spend. Upcycling also allows you to create unique pieces that you can't find in stores, you could say that what you create is ‘priceless’. These shirts are certainly much more personal, which in turn makes your wardrobe more meaningful, giving you a real connection to the items within it.

Picture: DressCode, courtesy of the brand.

ReCode – What do I need to collect?

Here’s an overview of what’s involved with ReCoding your shirt.

Material - a single long sleeved shirt requires approximately 2.5 to 3m material (depending upon width of the material supplied, this should ideally be 60” wide). We advise collecting half a meter more than you’re anticipating.

Touch - It’s important to touch the fabrics. We are all guilty of letting our eyes do all the work, we see a pattern we like and think ‘job done’. Please don’t do this, we know it’s hard. The materials need to be handled, how they feel against your skin is really important, something that feels rough to touch is never going to be comfortable to wear. In the same way that something that is thick and heavy will make you hot. We suggest using natural materials such as cotton, hemp or linen.

Measurements - your body measurements will be a really important part of making a shirt that is a success. We can help guide you through the process, there are size guides on our site.

The shirt to be upcycled (optional) - we can create a shirt from your supplied materials or we can upcycle an existing shirt, it’s your choice.

Securely package your materials - we’ll arrange the collection of materials from you and keep you informed about the progress.

How we ReCode

When we receive the materials and shirt(s) from you along with your order form (an outline of what you are looking to achieve). We will confirm receipt with a visual inventory of materials before we begin exploring the reality of your vision.

The DressCode team will work with you to develop a solution that delivers the ideas and values your looking for. We agree a design and begin the ReCode process.

Timing – this is a hand-crafted, individual experience, we are not mass producing. This means that a member of the DressCode team will be assigned to develop your shirt. They will iron the material, cut and sew the shirt to the design that we have agreed.

How long will it take? We advise allowing a minimum of 7 weeks from the confirmation of receipt of goods. Typically the process takes between 7-9 weeks to complete. We will provide updates throughout the process and confirm a delivery date.

Picture: DressCode, courtesy of the brand.

Case study – James’ ReCoded shirts

James Bore was one of the first people outside the DressCode team to stress test the CashCuff concept – full details of which are on our site. James is a cyber security expert, heading up the team at www.bores.com

When James contacted us, he had been collecting materials from his travels for some time. These were pieces of material that really meant things to him. He’d always had the ambition to create a shirt from them, but he had hit a brick wall, no-one was able to help him realise his vision for shirts made using these upcycled materials.

We chatted about what it was that James wanted to create. James asked if upcycling material into a shirt was something that we could do? It’s actually something that we have been doing from day one for customers, but it’s certainly become more popular over time.

We got back to James and said, “Sure, we can help you.” We arranged for the material to be delivered to DressCode HQ where we could look at the quality and the size of each piece to evaluate the practicality of the supplied materials. We created 2 shirts for James, his preference was for short sleeves. We knew his size from the CashCuff testing and got to work creating the ReCoded shirts. Selecting complimentary materials for the different sections of the shirt, looking at thread and button colours as well as the overall composition of the shirt before hand-cutting and stitching them.

When we shared the images of the finished shirts with James he was taken aback, this was exactly what he wanted. We arranged to post the shirts to him and when he received them he was over the moon. “These are without a doubt the best shirts that I have ever had.”

Hearing that is music to our ears. We are extremely proud to say that we hear these kinds of comments a lot from our customers, but with ReCoded products the satisfaction is even greater, knowing that we are enhancing peoples lives, giving them a great shirt and reducing the consumption of the planets resources, giving something back, it just feels fantastic. As with all of our shirts, for every ReCode shirt that we produce, we plant a tree, physically putting something back into nature to help sequest carbon.

The ReCode programme deep dive

The ReCode programme uses our current best practice model, this includes:-

Paying for skills

We have always paid the people that we work with wages that reflects their skills, craft and knowledge. We want everyone involved in the process to feel good about what they are doing, that only works when you recognise the value that each person adds. Paying them fairly for what they are doing, because happy people make better things – fact!

Renewable energy

We use 2 forms of renewable energy. We self-generate, using Photovoltaic panels, any additional energy is bought from certified, ‘renewable energy’ suppliers.

Responsible sourcing

If we need to source additional material to complete your request we will always endeavour to use existing off- cuts and roll ends. Should there be no other option, and a genuine need for something new, we can create that using digital print processes to minimise the consumption of resources.

Green transportation

We have embraced slow-fashion, so we avoid using overnight couriers and won’t use any carrier who doesn’t have a recognised ESR programme. This does increase the time involved in the despatch collection and process, but we think it’s worth it and we know that our clients appreciate it too.

Picture: DressCode, courtesy of the brand.
Read more about DressCode on their brandpage