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denim

Process innovation 

Goal: Viable business in upcycled denim, inspired by Levi's 

Team size: 6

Responsibilities: Ideation, fashion design, business plan & financial plan 

Timeframe: February 2024 until May 2024

Mission

Our fictional company UpcycLevi's contributes to a more sustainable world by giving old denim a second life. The unique, Levi's inspired and unisex nature of its designs is analogous to the free, unique choices each of us should be able to make every day. The collection challenges consumers to develop their own unique path and engage in what effectively matters: a greener world with unique personalities.

UpcycLevi's aspires to a market positioning where it becomes a wholesale processor of denim waste. It wishes to achieve this dream by capitalizing on the growing, sustainable mindset of consumers. The goal is to process 15 tons of denim waste by 2030. Unique, unisex designs that offer a sense of freedom and also reduce waste should convince consumers of our added value. 

" Unique, unisex designs that offer a sense of freedom and also reduce waste should convince consumers of our added value "

denim

Moodboard

The moodboard perfectly captures what UpcycLevi's wants to stand for. The core business is recycling old, blue Levi's jeans into a unisex, unique denim patchwork jacket. As many parts as possible, such as the belt loops, are recycled in their original form but in a unique way to give the new UpcycLevi's design a strong and recognizable identity. The collection is complemented by denim patchwork bucket hats and bags to complete the customer's look. 

Corporate identity

UpcycLevi's image is linked to the image of the Levi's brand. The collaboration is emphasized through the logo, typical lines, pocket shapes and the recycled brand labels. Yet UpcycLevi's also wants to differentiate itself from Levi's as they operate more sustainably. In fact, UpcycLevi's recycles Levi's post-consumer waste, which can be perceived by consumers through the clearly recognizable denim patchwork. Moreover, UpcycLevi's wants to be inclusive by offering unisex designs in an accessible size range (size 1-2-3). The main colors for UpcycLevi's are white, red and blue. White and red represents the link to Levi's, while blue makes a reference to recycled denim. The font is minimalistic, alluding to the unisex nature of the collection. 

fictitious, for non-commercial use 

fictitious, for non-commercial use 

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Target group

Model

UpcycLevi's collection was developed to meet the needs of its intended audience. The target audience consists of young working people with fewer responsibilities who are sometimes startled by the expectations of today's society. They want to determine their own life path and like to express this through their appearance. They are aware of the need for a sustainable mindset change so they can be assured a healthier, greener future.  

Design

The design of the first upcycled denim jacket is characterized by an oversized fit, a stand-up collar, a wrap closure, wide sleeves and mirrored but functional pockets. Recycled parts are kept in their original shape as much as possible. The waistbands (and their button closure) are retained as the closure of the upcycled garment and the initial trouser hem is recovered as the sleeve hem. Both the front and back feature contrasting, decorative stitching to emphasize the link to Levi's. Finally, the jacket receives a sewn-on snap button for comfortable closure. When the jacket is worn, the hem of the left and right panel swings out, creating a front opening. In this way, a unique idenity of the jacket is created.  The recycled Levi's label is attached to the back of the collar. 

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Prototype

The final prototype is a unisex, comfortable, oversized coat in denim patchwork. Available in an accessible size range, the jacket offers customers a sense of freedom and self-expression. The jacket recycles 3.4 kg of old denim and is produced locally which contributes to UpcycLevi's sustainable mission. 

fictitious, for non-commercial use 

fictitious, for non-commercial use 

Business plan 

Regarding the business plan, below are the main conclusions for UpcycLevi's product range, marketing, production and SWOT analysis. 

Product range

The core includes recycled denim patchwork jackets. Matching accessories such as a recycled denim bag or a denim buckethat allow consumers to complete the look. In addition, this minimizes cutting waste. 

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Marketing

UpcycLevi's marketing channels mainly include e-mail traffic and its own webshop. Physical purchases are possible through temporary pop-ups, whether or not in an existing, sustainable concept store. Video and photo content via Instagram allows UpcycLevi's to present itself as an transparent, inspiring and accessible business. Smaller accessories made from cutting waste can be used to promote sales of a new product. 

Winkelen van de vrouw

Production

Production is done locally in a rented production facility in Antwerp. Antwerp has a reputation as a fashion city, a leading role in sustainable awareness, easy accessibility and a central location. The machines are purchased.  The main investments are a safety stitch machine, a single needle lock stitch machine, a feed off the arm machine and a single needle chain stitch machine. 

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SWOT

From the SWOT, it appears that UpcycLevi's sustainable ambition can play both to its advantage and disadvantage. On the one hand, the sustainable nature creates a higher cost price through local production and deassembly and thus higher selling price. On the other hand, due to its green goals, the company can count on help from external parties, such as the government. The company must act so that it can exploit their strengths and opportunities and minimize their weaknesses and threats. 

Gesprekken met collega's
denim

Financial plan

The financial plan has enabled some important insights: 

  • The capital contributed by the three start-up entrepreneurs is €36,000

  • An external loan of €72,000 is taken out 

  • An initial inventory of 32 pieces is provided (equals 3 production cycles with a total variable cost of €2,046)

  • The selling price amounts to €186 including VAT

  • The sales forecast for year 1 and year 2 is, 379 and 1142 units respectively

  • The monthly break-even volume is 96 denim jackets

  • The break-even volume is estimated to be reached after 18 months

Reflection

Writing a business and financial plan for the fictional company UpcycLevi's refreshed my economic knowledge and broadened it to the fashion industry. It highlighted my passion for both subjects and I had a lot of fun. I ended up in a group where the interests were very diverse, which made it easy to divide the different tasks. Everyone took responsibility and provided the information needed by another in a timely manner. It was a pleasure to work this way and makes me look forward to the future. 

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