Kapdaa is thrilled and excited to have been featured in Forbes #ChangeTheWorld. This article articulately captures what Kapdaa is all about. Written very nicely by Olivia Pinnock, read on to see what
Reducing waste has always been a top priority for more efficient business but the pressure is piling on fashion brands to reduce the amount of textile sent to landfill to protect the environment too. While there are many schemes to rescue fabric from the cutting room floor and send it for recycling or to be upcycled by other brands, greater uptake of these initiatives is being hampered by the need for brands to protect the intellectual property. However, one unique company is providing a solution that’s proving popular with clients including Selfridges, Halston Heritage, Alice + Olivia, Orlebar Brown, Erdem and more.
Kapdaa started life as a B2C company, turning fabric off cuts into bookmarks but when furniture brand Galapagos approached them to help upcycle their wastage, the business took a whole new turn. Over the past two and a half years, they’ve helped save approximately 5,250 meters of fabric by turning it into stylish, handcrafted products ranging from notebooks to slippers, eye masks and passport holders to be used as marketing gifts by the brands who designed the fabric. In some instances, they’ve even created limited edition products to be sold directly to customers too.
Nishant Parekh is the co-founder of Kapdaa. He previously worked in advertising and marketing for the likes of Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy before starting the business inspired by the scraps of fabric left behind by his fashion designer mother. “The biggest advantage I’ve found over time is the IP and design issue. All the fashion designers and the interior designers, they’re very reluctant of giving out anything because they feel that someone will take advantage of their design.”
Few companies are currently offering such a service whereby a brand’s waste is upcycled and returned back to them. Zero Waste Daniel, based in New York, is another example, reworking scraps into new clothing designs to be sold. “It’s a missed opportunity for brands not to extend all the energy and resources you put into propriety fabrics to make more of it,” says founder Daniel Silverstein. Much like Kapdaa, it’s the business case that wins over clients just as much as the moral obligation. Silverstein estimates that he can leverage the waste of between 100 to 200 units of clothing to make around 30 to 50 new styles.
In some instances, brands pay for the disposal of waste created by their fabrics so turning them into something valuable is worthwhile. Not having to pay for new fabric again is another draw. An average client spend with Kapdaa is £1500, a very reasonable investment in quality marketing material.The brand is responsible for collecting the offcuts from their supplier and Parekh advises contacting the factory well in advance to ensure there’s a plan in place to save the fabric. Kapdaa can also advise on couriers and logistics when collecting from abroad. The amount of fabric they receive can then be assessed to determine what quantity can be made. These can range from 100 to over 1000, sometimes with only one product made in each fabric to create a unique mix.
Over time, Kapdaa has found ways to become even more efficient in its use of offcuts. Initially they required a piece of fabric 27xm x 37cm to make an A5 notebook, but that number is now 24cm x 34cm, enabling them to use smaller offcuts and end of roll scraps. They’ve also introduced new products, such as pens, luggage tags and card holders which have found a place for the smallest bits of fabric.
“The key element which we strive for with all of them was the same quality and finish.” Each product is handcrafted and is supporting traditional skills like book binding and screen printing, something which resonates with the brands they work with.
Terms like ‘waste’ and ‘scrap fabric’ don’t feel like they have a place in the world of luxury branding, but Kapdaa has repackaged it beautifully to provide an exceptional solution.
Olivia is a London-based fashion journalist, lecturer and the founder of The Fashion Debates.