Sustainable Industry

The future of fashion is circular: Brazilian brand Malwee makes sweatwear from recycled clothes

Product highlights company’s commitment to the sustainability agenda


In order to mark World Recycling Day on May 17th, the Malwee Group carried out an unexpected and unprecedented campaign on Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo: it distributed 1,500 sweatshirts from its new product line to the public. The idea was simple: anyone donating five items of used clothing would receive a sweatshirt in return. Unisex and double-sided, mixed gray and different sizes – the product was the only one in the 53-year history of the Santa Catarina-based brand that was not for sale. It was a one-off campaign, and the product was not made available for sale. All clothes collected were given to the Red Cross in São Paulo – an institution that has been working for 110 years to help vulnerable populations –, which sorted the pieces for donation or recycling for the production of new clothes.

However, this sweatshirt in the campaign was a special one. Created from time to time by the Group – which includes the brands Malwee, Malwee Kids, Enfim and Carinhoso –, it was produced from what the company has been calling ‘yarn of the future’: a raw material produced collaboratively from used clothes that would otherwise go to waste.

“We believe that creation of the ‘thread of the future’ is yet another initiative that reinforces our legitimate role in innovating for sustainability in the industrial sector and in the fashion supply chain,” says Taíse Beduschi, ESG manager at the Malwee Group. She continues: “From this raw material, Malwee transforms used clothes that would otherwise become textile waste into new pieces, with the quality for which the brand is notorious.”

According to Taíse, this type of circular fashion action has a direct impact on the use of physical resources and is in line with the brand’s ESG 2030 plan. “We made a public commitment to have 100% of our products manufactured from raw materials and/or processes that minimize environmental impacts over the next ten years,” she says.

Today, following the World Recycling Day campaign, Malwee is conducting an interesting campaign: consumers who take used clothes to the various collection venues maintained by the brand across the country will earn points and then receive a 15% discount on their purchases. All pieces in good condition are donated to the Red Cross in São Paulo.

Movement – ​​The campaign involving the sweatshirts in May also helped launch a movement that Malwee called DES.A.FIO, designed to promote circular fashion and minimize the impacts caused by reckless disposal on nature. DES.A.FIO is part of new branding efforts that started in 2020: “Moda Sem Ponto Final”. It is an overhaul of clothes collections to extend their lives, where more durable pieces that can be kept in the wardrobe for much longer are produced.

Since then, Malwee has announced other actions on this front, such as a partnership with the on-line thrift store Repassa and the shared wardrobe start-up Roupateca.

“Sweatshirts made from used products – which would otherwise go to waste – are a milestone in our history and emphasize Malwee’s commitment to seeking alternatives for an increasingly sustainable fashion,” says Guilherme Moreno, Marketing Manager at Malwee.

“This piece is a symbol of our desire for collective awareness of the importance of recycling clothes. As an evolution of social behavior over the past few years, we have gotten used to separating our waste and recycling materials such as paper, aluminum, plastic, glass… but what about clothes? Donation is usually the last stage in the cycle of the pieces we choose to wear, but they don’t end like that,” says Guilherme.

“At some point, all the products that were once part of our wardrobe will be thrown away and, when that moment comes, we need to seek alternatives that will cause the least impact. This is an issue that we need to face as a society, and Malwee is leading the way in this discussion, showing that it is possible to transform used clothes into sustainable, affordable, quality and durable fashion pieces,” he concludes.

Step by step – In order to develop the new line of sweatshirts launched in May, Malwee collected unusable pieces in stores across Brazil and through Repassa, one of its partners in circularity efforts. The clothes collected were sent directly to the EuroFios Group – a company that specializes in the recycling and production of sustainable yarns and a partner of the brand in innovative and sustainable manufacturing projects for over ten years –, which carried out the entire shredding and spinning process. Together the Malwee and Eurofios groups created the ‘yarn of the future,’ which both are confident to be unprecedented in the Brazilian market.

The yarn was made from post-consumer textile waste (70%), and an additional fiber (30%) to boost structure and quality. According to Malwee, this procedure avoided the emission of 44% of the CO2 that would be emitted, and consumed less than 30% of water in its production.

Wind energy – In January 2022, Malwee launched a collection inspired by nature’s renewable energy sources. According to the brand, Energia dos Ventos, Novos Caminhos is a tribute to the wind energy that has been used in its production since 2020. Today, the group claims that 83% of all the energy used in its industrial complex comes from wind sources.

“Wind energy helped us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19.5% in 2020 over the previous year – and the decision to use this type of renewable source is crucial to achieving our goal of achieving Net Zero status by 2050,” says Guilherme Moreno.

In addition to the use of wind energy and the ‘yarn of the future’ initiative, sustainable raw materials are found in the Malwee collection, such as sustainable dyed yarn, sustainable yarn-by-yarn knit and organic half-knit and piquet. The brand also adopted other cleaner manufacturing processes: the use of natural dyes in the dyeing of clothes and the reduction of up to 98% of water in the production of denim pieces. Jeans made with just 250 ml of water – i.e., a glass of water – are also part of the mix.

With these efforts, Malwee has been spearheading – for some years now, and as a pioneer in Brazil – an increasingly global trend: producing sustainably while investing in the circular economy and launching clothes that are democratic (for different biotypes, ages and styles, and often genderless) and timeless, and also last longer and can be resold, given away or exchanged.

Clothing Signature – Roupateca was established six years ago as a shared fashion platform and has circularity as one of its main pillars. In collaboration with Malwee, this platform has announced that a collection of sustainable pieces from the brand will be available to the community as of the 28th of September. The brick-and-mortar headquarters of Roupateca is located in the Pinheiros district in São Paulo, but you can also browse the pieces on their website.

Access to clothing is available through monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual subscriptions, with options for various quantities of pieces. Customers wear their chosen pieces for the period selected in their subscription and then return them to the collection. Once the clothes have been used, Roupateca is responsible for cleaning them.

“We have always admired Malwee precisely for its more sustainable positioning and for being a responsible fashion brand with the planet and people,” says Flávia Netrovski, one of the partners and founders of Roupateca.

For Guilherme Moreno, Marketing Manager at Malwee, “Roupateca’s concept of a shared wardrobe has everything to do with our ‘Moda Sem Ponto Final’”. “Malwee’s clothes are made to last – and that’s why this partnership makes perfect sense to us: it’s a way to extend the life cycle of the pieces, making them circulate to more people and for longer,” he adds.