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Aeon breathes new life into old clothes with recycled-fabric lineup

Earth-friendly apparel brand reprocesses fibers from castoffs donated to stores

Aeon's four new items of clothing under the Self+Service brand include blouses and pullovers. (Photo courtesy of Aeon)

TOKYO -- Japanese retail giant Aeon is fully launching a brand of clothing made from recycled fibers, aiming to promote sustainable fashion.

The products are sold under the Self+Service brand at roughly 380 Aeon and Aeon Style stores nationwide, as well as online.

"It's great that old clothes will be reborn and not go to waste," a customer said.

The four new offerings include blouses and pullovers. Each item comes in two colors.

The brand focuses on environmentally and socially conscious products. Sales of apparel using recycled fibers began in May of last year.

Now, the clothing has been made more comfortable based on input from customers and sales staff. Production will be increased by 30% from last year.

Raw materials come courtesy of Jeplan, a recycling startup in the city of Kawasaki. The company's Bring program places cardboard receptacles at stores to collect used clothing. Material from the donations is sorted, broken down and reprocessed into new fibers.

Aeon has collected old clothes since 2003. The group started collaborating with the Bring program in 2010 with the goal of fully commercializing recycled clothing.

Bring boxes can be found at 36 directly run Aeon stores featuring Self+Service as of May 1. Plans are to expand the network to 58.

Each box can hold the equivalent of 50 T-shirts. The goal for June is to collect one box's worth of clothing from each participating store, according to a representative of subsidiary Aeon Retail.

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