• Sourcing Journal

URBN and Nordstrom Confront 6.3-Million-Ton Textile Waste Problem

By Arthur Friedman



Textile waste continues to plague fashion, and now two of the biggest names in retail are tackling this area of sustainability head on.


Urban Outfitters Inc. and Nordstrom announced partnerships on Monday with Fabscrap to support the organization in reducing the fashion industry’s impact on the environment.

URBN will facilitate Fabscrap’s expansion into the Mid-Atlantic region by providing a new physical Fabscrap location in Philadelphia and a working capital grant. URBN’s relationship with Fabscrap began in 2019 as part of the company’s efforts to reduce waste in its supply chain.


Nordstrom, meanwhile, is awarding a grant designed to both help expand the Philadelphia site and develop an online portal for brands to access their diversion and environmental impact data.


In addition to the grant, Nordstrom will implement an online fundraising initiative from Monday through April 30, enabling customers to add $1 to their Nordstrom.com purchase to support Fabscrap’s work and mission. By 2025, Nordstrom aims to contribute $1 million in corporate grants to support industry innovation for textile recycling.


The retailer noted that each year, some 6.3 million tons of textiles are wasted during the design and production process to make clothing, according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation. URBN began working with Fabscrap to recycle fabric waste from its knitting, sample and pattern-making rooms.


Based in New York City, Fabscrap is a nonprofit organization that has pioneered a system to reuse and recycle fabric waste. It is dedicated to countering the fashion industry’s commercial textile waste problem, diverting as much unused material as possible from being landfilled or incinerated, while simultaneously creating an accessible materials resource for creative communities.


“We are excited about the partnership with Fabscrap as part of the next step in our sustainability journey,” said Frank J. Conforti, co-president and chief operating officer of URBN, which operates the Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, FP Movement, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Nuuly and Menus & Venues brands. “Philadelphia is a perfect location to expand due to local demand for service, and many relationships with design and art universities and nonprofits in the region. We believe this expansion will facilitate an infrastructure solution for Fabscrap and our community.”


Jessica Schreiber, CEO of Fabscrap, said this infrastructure is a key component of a more sustainable future for fashion.


“Our work relies on companies and individuals within the industry recognizing the issue and actively seeking a solution,” Schreiber said. “URBN is actively contributing to our growth, increasing the accessibility of our services and accelerating our impact.”

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