In an extensive research and design project in collaboration with the AMD – Akademie Mode & Design Berlin and the students of the Master's programme "Sustainability in Fashion and Creative Industries", as well as with our new cooperation partner milani we explored the feasibility of circular workwear and its positive impact on people and the environment. As lecturer at AMD and director of the Beneficial Design Institute, Prof. Friederike von Wedel-Parlow was able to build the necessary bridges between industry and academia together with milani's managing director Britta Pukall.

In the summer semester of 2021, the students embarked on an exciting research journey with our partners through the diverse textile spaces and networks of the workwear and corporate fashion industry. The aim was to extensively explore the feasibility of future visions towards sustainable, circular workwear with positive effects in different market segments. For this purpose, the students divided into seven expert groups, each focusing on market/big picture, material, design, production, business model, usage and reverse logistics for the following three industries: Logistics, healthcare and the hospitality industry.

By analyzing the status quo, challenges and opportunities of sustainable development and positive impact in these fields in close exchange with stakeholders like Sitex, Dieckhoff, h-hotels, Rompe and the local garbage collector BSR in Berlin, new perspectives and solutions were achieved on our pathway to a more holistic picture of textile circularity with a greater beneficial footprint of the economy.

As a result of analyses of status quo, challenges and opportunities for a sustainable development with positive effects in the respective industries and through the close exchange with stakeholders from the economy such as Sitex, Dieckhoff, h-hotels, Rompe and BSR - Berliner Stadtreinigung, many new perspectives and approaches to solutions were developed by the AMD students for the respective partners from the economy and for consulting services in general - always with regard to a holistic approach for the textile circular economy with the largest possible positive footprint. In addition, discussions with other cooperating companies such as Renewcell, Klopman, Giftd, The Sukosol Hotel or the researchers Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart (Leuphana University / Cradle-2-Cradle) as well as Annette Mark (BTK Europe) and Leonie Biesen (Sympatex) from the wear2wear industry association for recyclable functional textiles (including CWS, Schoeller) proved to be very informative.

We consider it as vital for this goal to initiate alliances between the various industry players to close the loop across sectors and to bring experts into a visionary dialogue with new thinkers and students.

“From being positioned in an own ivory tower we cannot change the system, in which great quantities of fashion are currently designed, produced, (mis-)applied and disposed – a system that generates environmental pollution, unacceptable working conditions and the irresponsible consumption of resources. Models of circular economies have the potential to break this system. Fashion and especially Corporate Fashion can utilize resources that aim at closed material and production loops in order to add value.”
(Prof. Friederike von Wedel-Parlow)

The results of the student projects are briefly summarized below. If you have any questions, please contact us by email at!

Student collaborative projects and outcomes

#1 Circular Workwear for the Logistics Sector

Key research partners:

BSR (Berliner Stadtreinigung)

Experts: Friedrich C. Sonderhoff (Depot manager / depot VMM) & Michael Sydow (Occupational safety / protective equipment)

The students’ Circular Workwear project for BSR, Berliner Stadtreinigung, focuses on the aspects of longevity, modularity and reverse logistics thinking. According to the student group, logistics are key for a more sustainable and circular workwear system, and need to be integrated into the uniforms design process. 

By developing a care guide and communication strategy, the students additionally enabled transparency, education and community engagement.

Participating students:

Madeline McElgunn (focus: Big Picture), Tove Elisabeth Wendt Karl (focus: Material), Maria Menendez-Moran Sanchez (focus: Circular Design), Eva Wolkorte (focus: Production), Hao-Chen Tang (focus: GBusiness), Sarah Middleton (focus: Usage), Sarah Guggenbühl (focus: Reverse Logistics)

#2 Circular Workwear for the Healthcare Sector

Key research partners: 

SITEX (Hospitality Work Wear & Textile Services)

Experts: Conrad Richtzenhain (Associate (Junior) / Business Strategy)

Dieckhoff Textile Systems

Experten: Marie-Sophie Dieckhoff & Junaid Khalid (Qualitätsmanagement / Nachhaltigkeit)

The concept proposes a circular & climate positive medical workwear rental service solution. The low impact medical scrubs are designed to be downcycled into additional loops that remain useful to the medical facility renting the uniforms until being sent back to the earth at end of life. The scrubs - a blend of hemp, vinatur and elasthomer - are the centerpiece of a closed-loop and local supply chain which supports the country's economy and diminishes its impact on the planetary boundaries.

Participating students:

Sandrine Demers (focus: Big Picture), Freya Gardner (focus Material), Arwa Al-Damerji (focus: Circular Design), Sarah Gelleri (focus: Production), Luca Endreß (focus: Business), Lais Doria de Souza (focus: Usage), Tyla Jurgens (focus: Reverse Logistics)

#3 Circular Workwear for the Hospitality Sector

Key research partners: 

– Rompe Design (Hotel Workwear & Corporate Fashion)

Expert: Johannes Viethen (CEO)


Expert: Frank Oettinger (Vice President Operations & Openings)

The 'Hospitality Redesign' project explores how hospitality workwear can become circular, beneficial and systemically transformative. To meet the needs of the diverse stakeholders involved in the hotel industry, the students developed a positive impact modelthat can be tailored to each individual client across six impact areas along the value chain: materials, design, supply chain, business model, usage & care, reverse logistics. Additional four levels outline short term approaches and long term opportunities in each impact area.

Participating students:

Isabella Rhein (focus: Big Picture), Katie Christie (focus: Material), Natascha Ahl (focus: Circular Design), Andreas Stolz (focus: Production), Chanawan Danpan (focus: Business), Natalja Neumeister (focus: Usage), Louise Blake (focus: Reverse Logistics)

Curious about our projects?

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