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When we hear stories about the fashion industry being bad for the environment, our first reaction is to throw that new coat away and never shop again. But human beings weren’t born with fur, so we need that delicious coat to keep warm (and look fabulous). Instead, we need to change the way fashion is made.

All fabric will impact on the environment, but using fabrics that don’t drain our natural resources can make a big difference. At TOBEFRANK, if a fabric we like has a negative impact on people or the environment, we need to figure out how to make its impact positive before using it.

We believe every process in the supply chain needs to be improved. It’s not about cutting anything out completely, its about looking at all the impacts. Our design process normally starts with fabric development. We work closely with our colleagues in Turkey and India to come up with new ideas and interesting developments. We make clothing through unusual processes and have modernised the medieval process of herb-dying.

I have been asked if being sustainable limits our creativity. The answer is a strong ‘no’. Sustainability pushes us to think more broadly about how we can make our clothes.


We are constantly working on fabric, trim and finishing development, thinking outside the box at every level. We use materials that come from waste or natural fibres and which do not damage the environment or create unsafe environments for workers.

Such as;

  • Faux leather patches with apple juice waste.

  • Recycled fabric from landfill.

  • Silk-look fabric made from seeds left over from cotton production.

  • Finishing with less water technology.

  • Dying with herb, flowers and vegetables with less chemical use.


When making our recycled cotton and polyester we work with a recycling plant in Istanbul. This re- cycling plant takes in 800 tonnes of unwanted fabric cuttings every month - cuttings that would nor- mally go into landfill. This unwanted fabric is the off-cuts from production runs and has never been used, washed or worn. The recycling plant breaks the unused fabric down into fibre and re-spins it. New fabric is then created by either being knitted or woven. As well as cotton, we also use recycled polyester fabrics. Even the dust from the recycling plant is given to a nearby chimney company.

Our pocket bags are made from recycled cotton and polyester fabric. The warp is recycled cot- ton and the weft is recycled polyester. When the day comes, this fabric can be recycled again into something new.


Plastic bottles are collected from the oceans by a brilliant company called Repreve. The bottles are cleaned, sorted and melted into pellets, which are then sold to us to help fund their amazing work. We melt these pellets down into polyester yarn. This fibre can be used for many types of fabrics and we see this as a replacement for virgin polyester. We use this fibre to create our slim-fit denim styles. We do this by blending this plastic bottle fibre with organic cotton fibre. On average, 9 plastic bottles make one pair of denim jeans. We encourage customers to wash these denims in a filter bag so that micro plastics are not washed into our water system.


The faux back patch is made from apples. The waste from apple juice production is collected and then dyed, this is then compressed onto a organic woven patch to secure the apple waste into the required shape, it’s then branded and ready to be attached to our denims. The test results show its durability is higher than cotton, paper and traditional leather. So far, this material is only workable on small products, however we are working with our suppliers to expand its capability.


We can dye fabric with herbs, weeds and tea bags. This is actually an old process dating back to ancient Egypt. However, due to the high demand of fashion production and need for colour con- sistency, this process was forgotten. Combining the old way of colour production with modern day machinery, smooth colour and colour fastening can be achieved. We are currently dying jersey t-shirts and denim with turmeric, hena, tea and rubia. Local communities who are all paid living wages through a goverment scheme pick the herbs to do the dyeing. This developed process was created by our fibre expert Mehmet and new innovations using this concept are still being created by our team.



We do not use conventional cotton as this can sometimes be genetically modified, subjected to intensive chemical treatments or poor water management. Although organic cotton is still a thirsty crop, it is produced by rain-fed water or partial irrigation. This drastically reduces the water foot- print by an estimated 36%. Also, due to sustainable soil management such as compositing, water retention in organic soil is often higher which lowers the demand for water. Finally, by cancelling all synthetic fertilisers, the carbon footprint of organic cotton is reduced by at least 29% per yield.



Cupro is a regenerated cellulose fabric made from cotton waste. It’s made from cotton linter, the small fluffy fibre covering the cotton seed which is left over after the cotton harvest. It’s produced in a closed loop, which means that the chemicals used (not harmfull of course) can be extracted afterwards and the water can be recycled. We are also working with the mill so we don’t use any chemicals at all.

Cupro is extremely soft and resembles silk. It’s made from 100% plant-based materials, so it’s biode- gradable.



Producing with less water is a key goal for us at TOBEFRANK. At the moment we use Ozone and laser technology to finish our denims. On average this reduces water usage per denim by 50% and we are currently working on how to reduce this even further. We are now looking into further water reduction by addressing farm to mill processes and are working on some unique agriculture devel- opments to reduce water consumption from crop to factory by 91%.



We use another brands wasted metal. We melt down the metal left over from other productions and re-use again. So far we can make buttons and studs and aim to grow this to zip.