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Graduate Teresa Albor talks about her sustainable brand Re/DRESS

Photo of a man in a all black outfit.
  • Written byEleanor Harvey
  • Published date 11 September 2023
Photo of a man in a all black outfit.
ReDRESS | Photograph: Ørjan Ellingvåg

Re/DRESS is a responsible fashion brand designed and produced in Bangladesh, which uses nearly 100% recycled cotton/polyester textiles. MA Textile Design, Chelsea College of Arts graduate Teresa Albor tells us how she wanted to make a change by bringing sustainable ideas to the place she was living in.

Why did you want to have your own fashion label Re/DRESS and when did it all start?

In 2019, I moved to Bangladesh, and I found myself in a vibrant, stimulating and perplexing place. Home to over 4,000 textile and garment factories with a mixed record regarding responsible fashion, Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of ready-made garments. So many opportunities, but how to make a difference?

After a lot of soul searching, and in response to the fact that less than 1% of the world’s textile waste is recycled into new clothing, designer Bharat Pratap Singh and I co-founded the proof-of concept responsible fashion brand Re/DRESS, a non-profit social enterprise. (

Working with 8 factories in Bangladesh, we’re demonstrating that textiles made of a blend of nearly 100% mechanically recycled cotton scraps and recycled polyester are both breathable and durable. Our unisex, inter-generational collection is now available in 3 major retail outlets in Bangladesh and in London (at 69B in Broadway market). Moreover, the textiles we have developed are available to be used by the factories we work with to fill any orders.

Woman in an all white outfit
ReDRESS | Photograph: Ørjan Ellingvåg

What’s your mission/purpose?

Polyester recycling has been practiced for some time: its qualities make it a good sportswear choice. Mechanically recycling cotton represents a big opportunity for scaling and impact and cotton is a breathable fabric, but if used on its own, it is not usually robust enough for export quality garments. Thus, we decided to experiment with blends.

Since the overall percentages of recycled fiber in textiles are still low, the goal of Re/DRESS is to use higher percentages (up to 100%!) of recycled content in products, especially cotton.

Why does it matter? One t-shirt made from recycled versus conventional cotton saves 5,000+ litres of water. Each kilo of recycled polyester reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70%. Our vision is a zero-waste economy as a response to the climate catastrophe.

We’ve also been able to have fun designing a collection which works for ‘every body’: we offer 2 sizes (smaller and larger) that are not based on the size of your body but how you like to wear your clothes.

Our goal is to promote cotton recycling (especially in Bangladesh where it has the potential to really take off on an industrial level), and we’re pleased the project has a significant press presence. We’ve done many pop-ups, talks in schools and at universities etc. We look forward to the day when it’s standard that most textiles include significant percentages of recycled fibre, and we no longer have a USP!

Photo of a person in an all white outfit and leopard print sandals
ReDRESS | Photograph: Ørjan Ellingvåg

Can UAL alumni get involved? If so, how? 

We need to decide if we want to push our efforts to the next level, i.e., introduce the brand further, outside Bangladesh. To do so we need to up our game when it comes to social marketing, brand introduction, business model/structure, and of course investment. We would love advice from people who have done something similar.

Photo of a man in an all white outfit, walking towards the camera
ReDRESS | Photograph: Ørjan Ellingvåg

What did you study at UAL?

MA Textile Design.

How did your UAL experience influence your practice? 

I was fine arts oriented and in fact focused on textile as a medium for my practice as an artist; all around me, others were interested in more functional uses of textile in responsible ways. This rubbed off on me or somehow entered my subconscious through osmosis!

Photo of a woman in an all black outfit, looking off to the right
ReDRESS | Photograph: Ørjan Ellingvåg

What do you think is the most difficult part of setting up a business? 

The messy moment between having an idea and making it ‘real,’ to then figuring out how to sustain it by the seat of your pants.

Then the next messy moment is figuring out how to take it to the next level (where we are now). Also, getting the balance right between risk-caution, outside investment-brand considerations, and most of all staying true to what you set out to do, without running out of steam or resources. And, finally, acceptance that creating and running a fashion brand is like pushing a giant boulder uphill and that you never get to the top of the hill.

Are you working on other projects, besides Re/DRESS, at the moment? 

Yes, I’m working on a low-cost shelter project with a Bangladeshi architect (Marina Tabassum/Khudi Bari). As I’m now based in Qatar, I’m currently working with a group of Qatari designers on a project called Cut from the same cloth, which combines my practice as an artist with recycling. Cut from the same cloth will involve an art installation featuring donated clothing, some of which will be sent to Bangladesh for a garment-to-garment recycling pilot.

Do you have a dream collaboration?

Stella McCartney.

Find out more

Follow Re/DRESS on Instagram  @redress.recycle

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