Frequently asked questions
Returns and Shipping
Every year, it’s estimated that a whopping 400 billion square meters of new fabrics are produced - an area equivalent to the size of California. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that 92 million tons of textile waste is generated by the fashion industry - every year. Of this, millions of yards of gorgeous, top quality fabrics are discarded, often through landfill or incineration. That’s why we are focused on rescuing and saving these textiles materials - instead of using virgin materials - to create beautiful apparel products that you’ll love.
We like to think of ourselves as sophisticated and stylish textile waste savers. Currently, we upcycle top quality, unused waste from luxury brands and manufacturers, at what we call the pre-consumer stage. This type of waste is sometimes called deadstock. We source all types of fibre types, whether it’s synthetic, biodegradable or man-made, because we want to reduce all types of waste. In the future, we want to upcycle more types of fabric ‘waste’, from textile swatches (leftover textile samples from production), sampling yardage (factory surplus waste leftover from textile sample manufacturing) to damaged textiles (perfectly good samples that remain unused for reasons such as it doesn’t match a buyer's’ previous order, for example) to unsold, brand new clothing.
We’re lucky to call many big brands and manufacturers partners as well as friends. By collaborating with them on their unwanted fabric waste, we provide them with waste solutions (waste management is something that many companies have difficulty with even though they run efficient businesses) whilst providing them with an innovative route to get their quality fabrics back into the fashion loop. Trust us, our partners also don’t want to waste their fabrics. By spending time working with our fabric partners we develop an understanding of what fabrics they can’t use and can’t dispose of elsewhere, and then we swoop in to rescue them. (We’d love to tell you who our fabric partners are, but for now they would like to keep their identity under wraps.) Soon we will be expanding our waste sourcing to include other challenging types of waste. The tougher, the better, we sometimes like to think!
Currently, our fabrics are completely unused when we take them in for upcycling. In fact, they are in such good condition that we don’t even need to clean them before use. But this will soon change when we look to be more daring with our upcycling, as we're passionate about upcycling all types of fabric waste!
We prefer to source fabrics from partners who have already strenuously tested their own fabrics and therefore may have test certificates on hand. Wherever possible, we ‘adopt’ their test certificates, which typically include details like fabric composition, performance standards, colour fastness, dry cleaning, perspiration, water and light steadfastness, as well as chemical-testing results, shrinkage and seam slip allowance.
We are currently exploring upcycling secondhand clothes and uniform waste, as we can't wait to wrap our minds and business plan around these challenging - yet creatively interesting - materials. Watch this space. We're not currently exploring upcycling secondhand textiles, such as curtains or bedding. One step at a time!
Yes, as much as humanly possible! All of the major components, like the fabrics and shell fabrics, are upcycled. Occasionally, when it comes to specific yarns, buttons or zipper that we need - to create the most durable and stylish outcome - we may need to source something that is new. But we only do this when it’s in the interest of making your product stronger and better.
We’re passionate about sourcing the toughest sources of waste. We don't simply want to buy waste from textile waste traders, who are often called jobbers. Instead, we ask our partners for fabrics that they really can’t get rid of through other routes. Whilst we do admire the other brands out there who buy textile waste, or deadstock, from jobbers, we've chosen to upcycle what no-one else wants. And we completely assure you that there's nothing 'wrong' with the fabrics and materials that we source. Our belief is that waste is not waste until it's wasted. So we focus on sourcing fabrics that are one stop away from being wasted, either through landfill or incineration.
We tend to love the fabrics that we source just as they are, so we don’t feel the need to add extra chemical processes to them by dying them. But in future, we may explore dying and re-dying options, if we receive some fabric waste that we think needs it. We're open to rescuing fabrics through upcycling in whatever shape of form that's best needed - so watch this space for the future where we may dye, add prints or embellishments to give waste a new sparkle!
Yes, we’re massive fans of collaboration with brands and so we’re happy to explore brand-to-brand collaborations in order to share best practices, waste-reducing solutions and to create collections together that ultimately waste materials back into the fashion system again. What goes around comes around, and we're collaborative to the bone!
As you know, we wholeheartedly believe in upcycling waste. But we united heart and mind to that upcycling waste - as opposed to using virgin materials - is better for the environment. We worked with environmental experts, RESET Carbon, on a carbon footprint life cycle analysis, from raw materials to factory, to estimate The R Collective's carbon savings on our inaugural Trailblazer Collection. RESET Carbon's results suggest that a typical The R Collective upcycled jacket (from our inaugural collection) has a 60% reduced carbon footprint compared with a similar jacket created using virgin materials, which is equivalent to diverting 14,882 plastic bottles from landfill.
Our manufacturing partners are crucial to us as they make our dreams become a reality. So we take selecting them super seriously, in particular their social and environmental performance. For our inaugural collection, we are working closely with the award-winning TAL Apparel, the highly successful and sustainable manufacturers who have a long legacy of innovation, who have their head office in Hong Kong and manufacturing facilities throughout Asia. TAL holds a deep commitment to their sustainable and ethical operations.
We know because we trust our partners. We’ve been to their factories many times, we even sleep onsite at their dorms and eat with their workers and we have a trustworthy relationship with them. They share their sustainability roadmap and we can see their commitment towards the people and the environment. So we feel more than comfortable - infact we feel proud - knowing that we are partnering into socially sustainable supply chains in which workers and the environment are treated respectfully.
The R Collective is designed in by a creative and collaborative group of emerging sustainable designers, who are all winners or stand out talents from The Redress Design Award, which is the world's largest sustainable fashion design competition for emerging fashion designers that is organised by our sister charity, Redress. At the design helm of our inaugural collections were star emerging designers, Kévin Germanier and Victor Chu, who were followed by Kate Morris and Lia Kassif. We purposely scout the world’s best talent and then we create the platform for them to unleash their ideas for a better future through our R Collections. We also enlist the seasoned support of additional designers, in the shape of advisors and mentors, who add their experience into this creative and courageous mix. The results are the fusion of ideals, creativity, bravery and years of experience. We’re soon to invite a new designer into the fold when the winner of The Redress Design Award 2018 is identified later in the year. (See next question.)
We identify our star designers through our sister charity, Redress, who organisers the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition, called The Redress Design Award. This competition is open to designers with less than three years’ experience and with over around 100 fashion university partners around the world, the competition both educates and unearths the next wave of talent, which we believe can change the world of fashion. We also tap into the incredible pool of The Redress Design Award's Alumni, who are previous competition finalists and semi-finalists. This means we have an incredible pipeline of talent from around the world. The results, we think, are magic!
If you have talent to boot, an abundance of commitment and you want to live life in a new kind of demanding fast lane, then you need to apply to any cycle of The Redress Design Award. See www.redressdesignaward.com. We so also engage with seasonsed advisors and experts to guide our emerging talent. If that's you and you have impeccable design and sustainability experience, you can send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We really want you to fall in love with clothes, and of course with The R Collective! Recently, we think clothes have become a bit too throwaway and we want to ramp up how much we respect and value clothes, from all walks of fashion life. Ultimately, we aspire to helping you to develop a careful and consciously curated closet that you love. We believe that the more you love your clothes, the better you will care for them, the more you’ll wear them and the more inspired you will be to style them over and over. And over! We want you to keep your clothes in the fashion loop for as long as possible, to help to reverse the trends for quick disposal of clothes. You can call us fans of SLOW fashion if you like. We think it’s simple really. We hope The R Collective will be part of that conscious closet, but if not, it’s ok, there are more than enough clothes out there and we don’t want to tell you to buy more. Instead, we say, care more!
Yes, we have a rental program established with our partners at Yeechoo who are based at 128 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong and who operate online too. (Although we don’t suggest you rent from Hong Kong if you’re shipping to anywhere in the rest of the world, and back, for a few days!). In the future, we hope to add more rental partners in more locations so that you can temporarily ‘own’ a slice of The R Collective and then share it back with other R Collective lovers!
We are offering you a free repair service - yes free - for your R Collective products. We want to make keeping The R Collective in active fashion service as easy as possible. This means that if there’s damage caused in the line of normal fashion duty - we’re talking odd rips and tears and missing buttons and not 10 rounds boxing with Mike Tyson! - then just hand it back to us. You will need to pay for the shipping costs, both ways to Hong Kong and your home again. All you have to do is email us at email@example.com and explain and show us the repair you need. Once we confirm, you can then post it back to us. Polite notice, we’re not offering a free alteration service, reconstruction or redesigning service!
We appreciate that one day, for some reason, you may be ready to part with your The R Collective item. If that’s the case - and you can promise that you’ve already tried styling it in many new ways and that you don’t want to try to swap it with a friend - then you can send it back to us. Please email us first at firstname.lastname@example.org. The R Collective will then work closely with our sister charity, Redress to ensure that your The R Collective product continues to work its good magic in the secondhand market.
All of our R Collective upcycled collections are limited in nature because we always find our waste materials first and then we design around what we find. This means that everything that we create is limited edition and super, super, super original! Once our 'waste' is used up, then the collection is 'over' until we find more waste, which typically comes with its own unique personality, to replenish previous collections' stock. We know that the rest of the fashion industry business model is based on creating more and more products in order to achieve scale - and to make more money of course - but we're not in that game. We want to produce creative, unique and special collections from the heart. Great things come over time and so we release our affordable luxury, limited edition collections when we, our designers and our partners - are ready!
We are sure you’ll appreciate that The R Collective is a small company with a big heart and limited stock. So for now, our return policy is strict. We massively value you as our customer, and we hope we can work with you to up the pleasure and down the return pain! Whatever you send back to us - for whatever reason - must be unworn, unwashed and with all the tags still attached. Timing is also important! At this time, we have a no refund policy except under exceptional circumstances. We know that sometimes people get the equivalent of cold feet with their fashion purchases. We’re really sorry we can’t help remedy this. Instead, we really encourage you to think hard about your purchase before the final click and please, take a good look at the sizing guides. Please don’t rush your purchase, sleep on it.
If you want to change the size or style, that’s ok, but you will need to pay for all costs associated with the shipping, send it back in perfect condition and quickly, please. So please remember to check the sizing chart to save us all the hassles, and please immediately send an email to email@example.com to let us know and return within 14 days upon receiving your garment.
With our approval, you’ll be responsible for shipping to us with a postal service of your choice. Remember, you’re liable for any lost or damaged packages so we recommend using a carrier that provides a tracking number. After we receive the product back in Hong Kong and verify the unused condition, we will process your exchange, depending on stock available.
We sincerely hope you won’t experience the disappointment of receiving a damaged The R Collective product because we and our manufacturers take quality control seriously. In the rare event that you receive what you think is a damaged product, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org within 48 hours of receiving your order and explain what you think isn't perfect about the product. You’ll need to send us clear photos to show us what’s troubling you. We will review and upon approval we will provide you with an exchange, depending on your preference and our stock.
Depending on where you are, your shipment will take anywhere from next day (in Hong Kong where we are located) to up to 14 days (rest of world). Currently, we don’t offer fast-tracked orders as we only offer standard shipping. But we believe good things come to those who wait! We currently have a standard HKD150 shipping fee.
After you place your order, you will receive a confirmation email letting you know that we got all the information, and giving you an order number confirmation. We will then lovingly package your product for shipping. So about 2-4 days after placing the order, we will send you a shipment notification email with the tracking information so you can keep an eye on its progress.
Typically you are not charged customs and duties upon delivery. However, if your country's customs and duties necessitate this practice of upon-delivery charging, The R Collective does not cover those customs and duties charges.
That is always frustrating when a package goes awry. Once your items are shipped however, we cannot be liable if it is lost or stolen. If your tracking number shows that your package has reached its destination and signed for, The R Collective will consider the package successfully delivered. However, if you did not receive it, you’ll need to contact the courier for more information.
Maybe you’ve heard of ‘food miles’ - the distance food takes from farm to fork? Well there are fashion miles too, and we do our best to limit them. So we agonise over our supply chains for efficiency, use the best carriers as possible, and we send our products, from waste to finished product, be land or sea by shipping, train or truck transportation as much as possible, instead of air. In the rare fashion emergency - say we need to get a sample back to our designers pronto - we may need to use air, but this doesn’t make us feel good at all.
We always strive to reduce our packaging without damaging the product. It’s a fine line to walk so sometimes we have to wrap some parts in plastic. As we’re still a new brand we’re learning and growing. Sustainable packaging costs more and when we can afford to, we’d love to provide you with this option as we grow, that’s why you supporting our sustainable operations by purchasing The R Collective helps us to chip away at driving improvements in the supply chain. Making packing more sustainable is a very tough and challenging nut to crack; and we'll be addressing this more in the future.
We started The R Collective because after 10 years working in advocating for change in the fashion industry through our charity Redress, we simply decided to go out there and prove that fashion can be a force for good. And we’re out there showing the industry how it’s done. To make a big change we need to help the entire industry to move more sustainably together. Yes, we also appreciate that there are many other brands out there already and quite honestly there are more clothes already out there to last us for years and years. But we also know that people will continue buying 'new' clothes and for these people, we are here to offer them up-cycled, waste-reducing and sustainable clothes that they will love. We just don't want people buying more new clothes made from virgin resources, when we know there are vast amounts of waste out there already awaiting the R Collective's magic touch!
The R Collective has its head office in the heart of Hong Kong, China where our sister charity, Redress is also based. Rubbing shoulders with the world’s biggest manufacturers, and living within five hours of half of the world’s population, many of whom are the world’s biggest fashion spenders and shoppers, means that we’re poised in one of the best locations to create change. Our PO Box is 9808, The R Collective (HK) Limited, General Post Office, 2 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong and we’re happy to say we hot-desk at various of our Partners’ offices so we can collaborate directly on their waste together when doing collaborations and, hello, save rental costs which we pass onto you.
We have lots of exciting collaborations and product lines coming up. We don't slave to fashion seasons, and certainly not to trends, so we release upycled, limited edition collections - where they are ready! Sign up to newsletter (below) to be one of the first to know when our next product drop is ready.
The R Collective is a social impact business that was born from Redress, the charity with a mission to reduce waste in the fashion industry and who have pioneered great transformation in fashion for over a decade. We are different legal entities operating separately with two different teams. And we’re also friends - or call us sistas - with a common dream for fashion to be a force for good. The R Collective donates 25% of our profits to Redress, because we believe in the power of collaboration and that one tide lifts all boats.
The R Collective is a limited company called The R Collective (HK) Limited. Our corporate address is 2405, Nine Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong.