Upcycling Textile Excess: A Case Study of a Cycle Oregon & Looptworks Partnership


We've always been amazed by how much excess and waste the apparel and textile industry produces. In fact, our company was created as a result of this revelation. Since then our mission has been to aid in providing a foundation, working towards closed loop solutions for a true sustainable, waste-free manufacturing process.

The bulk of this excess is created when brands cancel and/ or change their decision making process. Thanks to our global network, we're able to intercept and rescue many of these materials from incinerators or landfills, partnering with brands to design and produce custom, limited edition products for their employees or customers. 

cyclists participating in Cycle Oregon

Photo courtesy of Cycle Oregon

In this post, we wanted to draw back the curtain and share the story of our partnership with Cycle Oregon to utilize rescued pre-consumer textile waste.

Cycle Oregon is a week long bike ride held annually that explores different portions of rural Oregon. More than two thousand riders participate in the ride every year, riding 365-457 miles in the span of seven days. The event is fully supported, with riders provided snacks, water and meals along the way.

Being a non-profit group, Cycle Oregon is dedicated to transforming individuals and communities through bicycling. They award grants via the Cycle Oregon Fund to local communities, and encourage vendors and partners to utilize the most environmentally friendly products possible. In order to lessen the impact on these communities, Cycle Oregon employs a team of volunteers to separate recycling, trash and compost - packing out what they pack in.

When it came to sourcing commemorative t-shirts for the event, they came to us in order to find an eco-friendly option.

found textile excess

Step One: Sourcing Excess

Utilizing our network, our agent in India located suitable materials in a mill that fit the request from Cycle Oregon. After presenting them with our findings and getting approval, the process of producing the shirts began.

Moving the excess fabrics to the factory


The next step was to prepare the fabrics for production. In order to make the materials ready, they go through a process that prepares the fabric. This process, called fabric relaxation, maintains the dimensional stability of produced garments, adds shrinkage control and prepares it for cutting.

Preparing fabric for production

Fabric being prepared for production


After fabric relaxation, it is tested to verify it is ready for bulk production. Markers are made, drawing the pattern directly on the fabric to prepare it for cutting. As you can see in our photo, the marker placed on the fabric utilizes as much of the material as possible in order to minimize waste. (also known as finding the yield)

The marker on fabric, prepared for cutting

The next step is cutting the fabric. The fabric is spread and stacked to prepare for cutting. 

cutting fabric in t-shirt production

Screen Printing

Our cut fabric then moves on to be screen printed. 

screen printing upcycled t-shirts for Cycle Oregon 2016

screen printed tee shirts for Cycle Oregon

After the screen printing is complete, the tees are sewn, packaged and shipped.

finished tee shirts for cycle oregon 2016

 Upcycled Apparel from Industry Excess