Coach continues to explore sustainable pathways for fashion through its circular sub-brand Coachtopia, this season unveiling a new docuseries called ‘The Road to Circularity’, that invites us to embark on a journey of ethical practices and to counter waste and to challenge the predominant narratives that drive waste and overconsumption.
Hosted by sustainable fashion advocate and Coachtopia community member Aditi Mayer, the series will follow Mayer around the globe as she meets people on the ground who are working to make Coachtopia’s circular dream a reality while taking a long hard look at the obstacles that stand in the way for the global fashion community, and how we might overcome them.
“Since the founding of Coachtopia, we’ve been working closely with a wide range of inspiring young leaders through our Beta Community—and we have heard how frustrating fashion’s lack of transparency can be to this generation,” says Joon Silverstein, SVP, Global Marketing and Sustainability at Coach, and Head of Coachtopia. “That’s why we launched this docuseries The Road to Circularity—to go places where fashion doesn’t typically go, to explore the challenges facing our industry, and to show what it means to reconsider the usual fashion narratives and systems with circularity in mind. We’re excited to share our work-in-progress because we know that to tackle climate change, we can’t be afraid to take bold if imperfect steps—and to be honest about how far we have to go. It’s our way of using brand storytelling to shed light on bigger issues and to spark conversations that have an impact beyond Coachtopia.”
The first episode, “Making with Waste” sees Mayer travel to India to visit KH Exports, a family-run leather manufacturer that has been working with Coach since 1987. Here Mayer and Coachtopia challenge the team at KH Exports to reimagine pieces from Coach’s “leather scrap yard” as a unique raw material through product prototyping, material design and more. Through this challenge, Mayer gets to know the people behind Coach’s circular initiatives, uncovering their personal stories and their passion and innovation.
One of the methods Mayer gets to learn about is the ‘Coachtopia Upcrushed™ Upcrafted Leather’, which uses heat and pressure to transform irregular scraps of leather waste into unique and beautiful suede-like materials. This method in particular highlights a key discovery for Mayer, that in order to progress in circular sustainability, both brand and consumer must abandon the concept of “perfection”, and lean towards individuality with unique and imperfect but sustainable pieces. “It’s starting to think that, because of our cultural mindset around perfection, the natural grain of leather can be seen as a defect, leading to more waste,” says Mayer, as she talks to members of KH’s production team. “It makes me realise that circularity is not just about changing the way we make, but changing the way we think.”
“Coachtopia began with the inquiry of whether we can minimise the use of virgin raw materials in fashion,” says Mayer. “It’s been fascinating learning about how that quest translates to every part of the supply chain: from sorting, designing, to quality control. It reveals how circularity isn’t just a shift in operations, it also demands that brands and storytellers alike champion a new culture: one that rewrites how we view ‘waste.’
Episode 1 of The Road to Circularity was created in partnership with production company Special Order and directed by Christina Burchard.
Watch the first episode here: