How Kristy Caylor’s “For Days” could reboot the Fashion Industry’s OS

The co-founder of luxury brand Maiyet & early innovator with Gap’s Product (RED) wants to shake up the traditional consumption model

in brief

For Days is an innovative brand offering a different option to just throwing clothes away: a new subscription model attempting to create a circular economy for basics and leveraging upcycling opportunities to provide consumers with an endless supply of fresh shirts.

Each year, the average American throws out roughly 80 pounds of textiles. While some higher-end clothing might be resold or donated, a flawed T-shirt is rarely recycled. Of the 10 T-shirts the average consumer buys in a year, six might end up in the landfill. In short, fashion has become casually disposable.

This alarming observation motivated Kristy Caylor to launch For Days, an innovative brand offering a different option to just throwing clothes away. To fight back, the concept offers consumers, through a new subscription model, to send their used pieces back to the brand and get a new one in return, while the fibers from the first are reused to make more; thus fostering both circularity and upcycling opportunities.

Credits: For Days

“[In fashion] we have no solution to the end of life of these products, so we have this cycle of produce, purchase, pollute,” Kristy Caylor, founder and chief executive officer of For Days on Fast Company, June 2018

Through this “fresh model for commerce”, the startup is attempting to create a circular economy for basics: with the company’s subscription model, old T-shirts are recycled, while consumers have an endless supply of fresh shirts, all made from new organic cotton (due to the fact that the shirts currently made are the very first product release of the startup), and progressively to 100% recycled organic cotton (as shirts are returned). Indeed, the second-generation shirts will be made of 30 percent recycled material, with a goal of getting to a 50-50 mix.

“You wear them, wear them out, rip them, we don’t care. You order new ones to refresh and…you send your old worn out ones back in the same bag.” Kristy Caylor, founder and chief executive officer of For Days on WWD, May 2018

Credit: For Days

The three-shirt subscription costs $12 a month, $24 for six, and $36 for 10. All of these include free shipping (back and forth); which according to the founder, is a relatively small part of the carbon footprint of clothing. Nevertheless, the company plans to buy carbon offsets to make the products carbon neutral. With its new offering, For Days is tackling a pretty huge market: T-shirt sales tally $22 billion annually in the U.S., with the average Millennial household paying $347 annually for T-shirts, (according to the company, which relied on data from the U.S. Labor Department and Statista).

“It’s a new OS for living,” Kristy Caylor, founder and chief executive officer of For Days on WWD, May 2018

Credit: For Days

The old shirts will be mechanically recycled, which involves chopping up the cotton, adding water, and turning it into pulp to make it into new yarn. But For Days is looking further for additional opportunities, exploring partnerships with companies that have chemical technology that can recycle cotton more completely (newer chemical methods can use more recycled fiber, contrarily to T-shirts made nowadays with recycled cotton which still has to use a large percentage of virgin fiber.).

“We are working on a facility build, it definitely takes a while to get that done. Our plan is to bring certain elements of production in house very soon so that we can control the manufacturing flow so we’re minimizing inventory waste. The goal is to have the whole circular process in house.” Kristy Caylor, founder and chief executive officer of For Days on WWD, May 2018

The startup works with a factory in Los Angeles to make the shirts and another facility that recycles fabric, and is also building its own manufacturing facility in the city, focused on creating an efficient process that eliminates waste and planning to incorporate manufacturing and recycling under one roof. In the meantime, the venture-backed brand needs a container’s worth of returned shirts to get things kicked-off.

“I don’t really believe in sustainable or eco-fashion. It has to be sustainable through the lens of both the environmental and financial. That’s been the goal for us, to align those incentives because they work naturally together.” Kristy Caylor, founder and chief executive officer of For Days on WWD, May 2018

Looking beyond basics, the startup’s goal may ultimately to offer subscriptions to other types of cotton made clothing, potentially anything that someone wouldn’t want to keep long term. To get the word out, Caylor looks forward to work with “like-minded people who have an audience” and to create a community to energize the business.

“I think we can expand as far as we can innovate on materials, manufacturing, and upcycling,” Kristy Caylor, founder and chief executive officer of For Days on WWD, May 2018

Head to For Days’s official website to make your own idea of this fascinating business approach and share your thoughts in the comments section.   

This story was discovered first on Fast Company & WWD.

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