Spotlight On: Ralph Lauren Corporation
Find out more about Ralph Lauren Corporation’s circularity strategy
The shift to a circular economy has significantly grown on the global agenda. Fashion brands are increasingly exploring circular business models and initiating processes of redesigning their product life cycles.
For over 50 years, Ralph Lauren has been committed to creating timeless products. The Company’s approach to Global Citizenship & Sustainability, Timeless by Design, is anchored in this philosophy and ensures timelessness is embedded from inspiration through to products’ every use and re-use across generations.
As part of this, at Global Fashion Agenda’s Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition 2022, Ralph Lauren deepened its efforts to advance a circular economy with a commitment to enable its products – past and present – to live on responsibly. The strategy centres around three pillars: design for circularity, establish circular experiences for consumers and advance a circular product economy.
A garment’s design phase is one of the best opportunities to minimise environmental impact as design decisions have the power to influence manufacturing impact, purchasing and usage behaviour. Under the ‘Design for Circularity’ pillar of its Timeless by Design strategy, Ralph Lauren introduced The Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Certified® Gold Cashmere Sweater in January 2023, a product made to be worn, loved and live on responsibly for generations to come. The sweater is the first of five iconic Ralph Lauren products that the Company has committed to have C2C Certified® by 2025.
The C2C Certified® Gold Cashmere Sweater was assessed by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute in a multi-step certification process. Every component of the sweater has been certified, from the cashmere fibre to its rich dyes – even the well-recognised, sewn-in purple label was reimagined. The C2C Certified® Gold crewneck sweater replaced the original iconic product, and the certified assortment is expanding to include other cashmere products.
Transitioning towards a circular economy is a major challenge for the fashion sector and brands are in a unique position to drive change because of their direct relations with consumers, who can also play a role in expediting this transformation. Ralph Lauren has committed to extend the life of its products by connecting its consumers to rental, repair, and recirculation channels in select cities by 2025.
Developed as part of the C2C certification process, Ralph Lauren also launched its Cashmere Recycling Program for 100% cashmere in partnership with Re-Verso™ in Prato, Italy. The program, currently available in the United States and soon-to-be in Europe, allows consumers to ship their end-of-use 100% cashmere items – from any brand – to be recycled.
The C2C Certified® Gold Cashmere Sweater was highlighted in a multi-media consumer marketing campaign. The campaign was shared across Ralph Lauren social channels and RalphLauren.com, where consumers could find more information about the sweater, recycling program and the Company’s efforts to support a circular economy.
To help the industry meaningfully shift from a linear to a circular product economy, Ralph Lauren will continue to invest in scalable technologies that will elevate the quality of recycled materials. As part of this commitment, Ralph Lauren will produce 100% recycled cotton products of the high quality that the Company is known for across its portfolio by 2025.
By 2025, Ralph Lauren will also support scalable regenerative practices – such as the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund – and invest in innovative technologies like those created by NFW (Natural Fiber Welding), a leading material science start-up that is scaling a new industry standard for natural fibre recycling.
Launched in Spring 2023, Ralph Lauren’s POLO® MIRUM® trainer and crossbody pouch are partially made from MIRUM® — a 100% plastic-free material, created without relying on petrochemical and synthetic inputs.
Ralph Lauren is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Strategic Partners. Find out more about our partners here.