REWOVEN: Re-imagining Textile Waste and Recycling Innovations

Our dedication to celebrating sustainability in Africa forms an integral part of our vision at What We Cherish. We are fortunate to hold conversations with innovators across an intersection of industries. Our conversation with Esethu Cengu, co-founder and CEO of Rewoven, highlights an often-unsung aspect of the fashion industry. Re-imaginening textile waste and recycling innovations.

RECYCLING TEXTILE WASTE

In mitigating textile waste, Rewoven’s business model is centered on diverting such waste from landfills and towards an expanded, re-purposed lifespan through recycling textile waste. Tshepo Bhengu, Esethu Cenga and Lonwabo Mgoduso began this journey in 2018, harnessing their collective entrepreneurial mindset towards a vision that merges technology with sustainability, in pursuit of a solutions-based approach to problems in the fashion industry.  

Rewoven founders, Tshepo Bhengu, Esethu Cenga, Lonwabo Mgoduso
Rewoven founders: Tshepo Bhengu, Esethu Cenga and Lonwabo Mgoduso

SUSTAINABLE OPPORTUNITY

“Our shared love for fashion and clothing, as well as sustainability and wellness, found common ground through our research into the conversations about waste in the industry. Through realisation of the waste problem in fashion, we saw a huge opportunity for problem solving that really excited us.” Recounts Esethu in her conversation with our Founder, Melaney. “We wanted to know what was happening in South African landfills, as most of our research led us to US and EU studies, and had already found ourselves in Cape Town which is a huge, historical hub for manufacturers and retailers in the country. We spoke to these spaces, and saw an opportunity to divert waste while creating jobs; as one of our main passions is understanding and actioning how sustainable fashion can contribute to development in Africa.”

textile waste, recycling
Bales of textile waste

A BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL

We are truly motivated by young creatives such as the Rewoven team. Often, the climate and consumption crisis can be incredibly overwhelming. Rewoven is a shining example of how talent and vision can be cultivated towards a better future for all. What seems like an impossible mountain to climb can actually be moulded into a positive, human-centric business model. Being the first of its kind in South Africa, Rewoven is not only leading the charge with their company. They also create spaces for dialogue through their yearly symposium “Future of Fashion”. Since 2019, they have hosted a forum in which industry professionals can gather for educational purposes around pushing sustainability in the fashion industry in South Africa. Determination drives the Rewoven dream by bringing together the greatest minds and hearts on the continent.

To see our full interview, click here. Follow Rewoven on Instagram: @rewoven_africa

recycling, textile waste
Recycled fabric by Rewoven