In 2013, the Mai BineAssociation , a local-level NGO in Romania that works on educational activities when it comes to sustainable, ethical, and responsible consumption, started to focus on practical solutions for alternative clothing consumption. This was how the REDU project was born.

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Today REDU is a successful social enterprise that transforms textile waste into resources in a creative and educational way, selling a range of textile products.

Assistant Director of REDU Elvys said: “I love to know that we can make a difference in what it is today to make fashion. I enjoy the fact that I have a really nice team to work and grow with - we are more friends than teammates.

“When we started, people reacted well but they didn't have so much interest in REDU. Now things have grown and changed and the actions that we take are appreciated - we feel that we have more respect and credibility. But there is still so much work to do in terms of educating consumers.”

This is a particular challenge when it comes to communicating that working with textile waste in this way is time consuming and that work needs to be reflected in the prices.

Another challenge for the team is that producing products from textile waste means they do not have control over what fabrics fall into their hands. This diversity in terms of the fabrics they use is both a strength and a challenge.

The irregularity is a problem for some customers who would like to place consistent orders such as shopping bags in a certain fabric or in a certain colour and we cannot provide it,” explains Anca, Founder of the Mai Bine Association and of REDU. “First because we are constrained by the constant change of fabric waste we receive and second because we are a small team.”

The REDU team wants to see a shift in the textile industry to the creation of products that last a lifetime, are atemporal and unisex.

The way we exchange clothes and the way we get rid of our clothes it is not sustainable. We would like to see modern slavery abolished in the industry. There should be more actions regarding the pollution of the fashion industry, it should be illegal to manufacture environmentally-harmful products,” says Elvys. “And we are not talking enough about microplastic pollution and fashion. The industry produces so much waste but they are not paying the price for polluting.  It’s really important that there is a mind shift among designers as when you design a product you should think about its whole lifetime.”

Director of REDU, Andreea explains that in Romania this project is pioneering.
As far as we know we are the only ones working in this field so this is very marginal still. If you get into this for profit then it cannot work. Passion is the fuel here. It’s a business that is not built on profit but on positively changing something.”

Anca adds: “I love the creativity in finding solutions and the resilience.”