Un projet d'économie circulaire

A circular economy project

We are launching a collection of design objects made from our production scraps and clothes at the end of their life cycle.

un projet en économie circulaire pour atelier b


Local production and environmental awareness

When Catherine and I started working on atelier b in 2007, at the very core of the project there were two axes on which we built the project. We wanted to create a minimalist clothing line that was firstly locally produced and secondly that had as little negative impact on the environment as possible.All these years later, these two guidelines are still at the heart of the project. Since the creation of atelier b, we have been questioning our work and have been driven to improve our processes to reduce our footprint. Here is the story of the path we have taken to become a clothing brand with a completely zero waste production.

With the seasons and the collections, we have improved each process; the choice of our fibers, the mode of delivery, the reusable labels, the manufacture of small objects with our scraps, the donations to recuperating craftsmen are examples. Moreover, we guarantee the quality of our products and we repair them in our workshop. The impression we were left with was this: our actions make our practice less bad, but less bad is not enough. I have a recurring nightmare where I am buried under all the clothes we have sold in twelve years. I often have to remind myself why it is useful and relevant to what we do in the shop. Our clothes allow us to feel good and confident, to be comfortable, to express ourselves. As we know, clothes have an impact on our attitude and mood and much like art, surrounding yourself with beauty can be positive. It's also essential to keep a local know-how, as we have seen in the last year. So we say yes to creating beauty here, but how do we do it right?

Tests avec atelier retailles pour le projet d'Économie circulaire d'atelier b

Circular economy and the scraps of our scraps

It was through our interest in the circular economy that Catherine and I felt the need to develop a more radical project.

Definition of circular economy: "an industrial economy that is restorative and in which material flows are of two well-separated types: biological nutrients, intended to re-enter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, designed to be recycled while remaining at a high level of quality, without entering the biosphere."

At the workshop, we are obsessed with optimizing the use of fabrics. Our raw materials are made of natural fibres and are of high quality. Some of them come from here, some from Europe or Japan. Their manufacture and transportation have a big ecological footprint. So using them efficiently, optimizing the energy used in their manufacture and preventing them from ending up in landfills, has become a constant research.

We calculate with our pattern software our percentage of fabric usage at the cutting stage. We create small products to insert between garment pieces in the pattern markers. This is actually what prompted us to launch our baby and children's clothing line in 2016. This allowed us to use the fabric scales and larger scraps. Plushies are made with the smaller shapes, and lately masks when the fabric fits. We give the reclaimers what they are interested in creating their products. We then calculate the remaining scraps. Annually, we are talking about a ton of small textile scraps. One ton!

New material, new collection

For the past two years, we have been testing and prototyping different techniques to find ways to use the scraps while respecting our values and our mission. And it's not over yet, we are still in the research and development phase for several aspects of our project. By 2022, we will finally have a zero waste production thanks to this new material. What is most interesting for us is that the material can be transformed again and again without losing quality, and ideally never end up in landfill.

With this material, we have developed a collection of utilitarian objects for the home. Some of these are available in our online boutique and in our Mile End workshop-boutique, others are still in the research phase and will be added to the collection over the course of the year.

Thank you to our team and our employees:

Atelier Retailles

Studio Caserne

Dominique Lafond

Robocut Studio

Synergy Montreal

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