Why TOP-atelier ?
Our vision and mission
By the end of 2020 TOP (Textile SwitchOver Project) -atelier wil turn the upcycling process of textile waste to high-quality products, into a profitable proceeding and an opportunity to the Belgian textile & clothing industry.
- demonstrating that upcycling can be profitable in Belgium
- demonstrating that we can make a high-quality Belgian product from textile waste streams
- developing professional upcycling Business Model(s) for Belgian textile makers
TOP-atelier’s founders are IVOC, Creamoda, Doek vzw, Herw!n and Prospex Institute, with the support of Vlaanderen Circulair.
How did TOP-atelier come about?
During the TexUp (Textile-Upcycling Lab) project a few years ago, we had already examined the various circular design and manufacturing processes involving local textile waste streams. At the time, a group of designers had been challenged to design upcycling products using end-of-life textiles from a hotel in Antwerp. Upcycling is a creative process whereby waste is considered a resource. Materials are reused in a new, smart way, giving them a second life and function.
From TexUp we learned that more research and experimenting are needed for scaling up and marketing upcycling products. It also became particularly clear that local production is an essential element. However, there is currently not enough offer to make such local production possible. Also, the quality standards that apply when marketing upcycling products must be further examined. Moreover, the sustainable collection, gathering and sorting of specific textile waste streams remains a challenge.
As such, the brainwork accomplished during TexUp and the creation of an enthusiastic movement around the repurposing of local textile streams resulted in this new project, “TOP (Textiel-Omschakelings-Proces [textile-switchover-process])-atelier”.
TOP-atelier brings together not only designers, but also Flemish clothing manufacturers, clothes sorting companies and the social economy. In this way, we can work optimally to tackle the complexity of the sustainable and circular repurposing of local textile waste streams.
The TOP-atelier workshop is building a professional and effective production chain for the realisation of new textile products.
We work with a strong business model and analyse and test new possibilities in practice. To do this, we work with various Flemish ready-to-wear workshops that make their specific know-how and machinery available.
We share all the lessons learned throughout the process, with a focus on innovation and circular production processes.
After the TOP-atelier process we should know:
- which technologies and system adaptations are required to be able to offer smooth and sustainable repurposing;
- what criteria are needed to guarantee a good and affordable quality product.
We are breathing new life into our manufacturing industry and generating a new production flow. At the same time, we are working on raising awareness of waste management among consumers and businesses. We remind them of their social responsibility and provide them with tools to bring about a real change in behaviour.
We are moving towards a more beautiful and circular future of our textiles.