Ecouterre is the official media sponsor of the 2012 EcoChic Design Award.

Greenwashing by the fashion industry just got a whole lot harder. Asian nonprofit Redress has launched a consumer-facing certification that corroborates the authenticity of so-called “upcycled” garments. The trademark-pending “R Certificate” will guarantee that retailers, brands, and designers are recycling factory offcuts and pre-consumer waste into new items through third-party verification, full supply-chain transparency, and layman-friendly visual annotations.

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The seal of approval assures that a clothing item was manufactured using a minimum of 20 percent recycled fibers in a Global Recycle Standard-certified facility with a fully traceable supply chain. Consumers can also enter their purchase’s R Certificate tracking number at to learn more about its estimated environmental savings.

Esprit, which debuted a line of recycled casual-wear in May, is the first retailer to use the R Certificate.

“Although there is much to love about fashion, clothing manufacturing can be wasteful, from water to energy and textile waste,” says Christina Dean, founder and CEO of Redress. “Via the R Certificate, our goal is to recycle quality factory fabric waste and unused clothing waste so as ultimately to save our Earth’s diminishing natural resources.”

The R Certificate, she adds, encourages garment manufacturers to reexamine their own supply chains with a gimlet eye. “Living in China, the world’s garment manufacturing hub, gives us the opportunity to innovate from the inside,” she says.

Esprit, which debuted a line of recycled casual-wear in May, is the first retailer to use the R Certificate. “This third party certification verifies that we recycled our own factory fabric waste into our new sustainable fashion line,” says Michel Bourlon, the company’s head of global sourcing. “It further allows us to communicate our supply chain transparency whilst educating our customers.”

+ R Certificate

+ Redress