How it all started

About us

Concerned about the negative impact the fashion and textile industry was having on the environment, but confident in the fact that it could be diminished, an idea arose in 2015’s spring at the very Eastern end of the European Union. In Iași, Romania, a handful of people, members of the Mai Bine grassroots organisation, created and launched REDU.

What's in the name
Reuse & integrate

The group of activists built REDU on the solid ground of its previous experiences and undertakings devoted to capacity-building for sustainable development. What started out as Mai Bine’s pioneering project, inspired by the organisation’s values, now is a certified social enterprise that serves as reference for the Romanian sustainable fashion, garments and textiles industry. We were the first in Romania to address waste in both an organised and entrepreneurial way and also by applying the triple bottom line approach: people, planet, profit.

The name itself is a call to action that reflects the enterprise’s mission: that of reducing the textile waste in active and creative ways.  Set in the second person, REDU means “reduce” in Romanian.

It calls for participation, as change can only be made through persistent education (we constantly work on awareness campaigns meant to educate the community on the hidden environmental and social costs of the fast fashion and also on ethical alternatives).

We create our products from pre/post-consumer textile or from old and used materials collected from the community. Their purpose is to be reused and integrated in modern pieces of clothing or textile accessories. The ultimate fashion statements.

Another world is possible
Our story

For years, we’ve strongly believed (and still do) that another world is possible and that is why REDU’s story begins with Mai Bine organisation.

Specifically, with its mission of contributing to the local sustainable development on all three main coordinates: nature, society and economy.

A small group of people put together the very first workshops dedicated to creating sustainable textile products. They took place in a living room and consisted in creating hand painted cotton canva bags with eco-aware messages. In the same year, we developed workshops for people with physical disabilities. All the money collected from selling the hemp products made during these workshops was donated to supporting people with disabilities.
Mai bine Association was founded in Iași, Romania. Its slogan, ethics.ecology.equity, evokes the organisation’s integrated approach. By honouring these words, Mai Bine took the lead in the theoretical and practical promotion of sustainable consumption (caring for both people and environment) soon after being founded.This is the year Mai Bine becomes the main local actor and a national reference in its field.
In order to better promote sustainable products and the ethical & solidarity economy, we start organising events.  2010 is the year we familiarize ourselves with organising small fairs that endorse eco, local, fair and solidarity products. The creative recycling workshops are among the most popular events.
The Charity Bazaar first edition takes place. Its aims are to start creating the habit of clothes swapping and to gather funds for vulnerable people in Iași. Since then, tens of other editions have been organised, coupled with other events focused on raising awareness about the fast fashion’s hidden costs.
Our social business plan for the Urban Center for Good Initiatives – CUIB was awarded three times. We were among the finalists at the NEsST competition and entered a second competition for social enterprises, funded by Unicredit Bank. Thus, the end of 2012 brought us two awards from these two competitions and a popularity award, equivalent to a total amount of around €20,000. With these funds, together with financial and in-kind contributions from active members, we started working on turning the idea into reality.
We start sketching the first business idea for a green social enterprise that will focus on textile waste. That same year, we opened CUIB, the first social enterprise that created sustainable alternatives for food consumption. Its success created the momentum to start working on another bold idea that would later become REDU - a green entrepreneurial project that would provide alternatives for the second most important dimension of individual consumption – clothing.
Our project proposal is short listed at the Green Industry Innovation Programme of Innovation Norway. The subcontracting started in spring, by September we equipped the textile workshop and the collection center and, together with our Norwegian partner - Lisbeth Lovback Berg, we started working on our first slow fashion collection.
REDU is officially launched as a creative upcycling of textile waste and slow fashion  national pioneer. We placed 10 boxes throughout the city and started collecting pre-consumer and post consumer textile waste. During the fashion revolution month, on April 5th, REDU concept store was opened to the public with hundreds of upcycled products and the first slow fashion show was organised in Iași.
Mai bine certifies its economic activity – both CUIB and REDU projects - as social enterprises. Even before a social economy law was in force in Romania (2015), the triple bottom line approach - people, planet, profit - was already our focus in both enterprises.
REDU changes its legal status from a Mai Bine’s project to a stand alone entity. From now on, it’s registered as Atelierul REDU SRL. The newly created enterprise is co-owned by Mai Bine (50%) and the employees (50%). It took significant efforts from the team to keep the project going after the financing period ended. The collection center and the concept store closed. Following this, we moved the workshop’s premises to the Technical University of Iași’s campus (Fab Lab Iași building).
With the close support of Reginnova, we became part of the TCBL - Textile and Clothing Business Labs community. We started working on the first European funded project. TCBL gathers a community of like-minded individuals, associations and companies that are working together in order to create a more circular and sustainable European Textile & Clothing sector.
We co-organised Fashion Forward: connecting patterns for sustainability, within TCBL, a three-day conference. The event was probably the most ambitious that took place until then in the sustainable fashion field, at a regional or even national level. It aimed to capture the local industry’s young energy and to incorporate the TCBL key-concepts: digital, human, circular, transparent – towards a new, emerging vision for sustainable fashion.
REDU is invited to become a pilot in HEREWEAR, a project to be funded by the Research and Innovation Programme of the European Union - Horizon 2020. We consider this a milestone, not only because its aim to create a European ecosystem for locally produced circular textiles and clothing made from bio-based resources perfectly matched with our aspiration, but also because we were thrilled to work with forefront entities towards sustainability in the garment and textiles industries.
Our work on research and innovation intensifies as we start working on two new H2020 projects. In January the project SHEMAKES starts empowering future female innovators in the sustainable fashion industry through inspiration, skills and networking. In may, TRICK is launched with the aim of providing a complete, reliable, SME-affordable and standardised platform to support the adoption, tracing and demonstration of sustainable and circular approaches.
What makes us redu
Vision, mission & impact

We share the vision of our founding organization, that of living in an environmentally sustainable world, governed by sound ethical principles and strong on social justice.

Our mission also derives from that of Mai Bine: contributing to sustainable development and local resilience by using a holistic approach on all three development pillars: nature, society and economy.

Learn how REDU led to positive changes in this infographic based on the numbers from the first year of activity (2015-2016). Also, find out more about us from the 2017-2019 activity report.

People Behind the Lights
Meet our team
Founder and community catalyzer
Anca Chirilă Gheorghică
Co-manager and designer
Andreea Sofronea
PR and communication
Cristina Căpitanița
Co-manager and designer
Elvys Sandu Prisecaru
Financial officer
Marcela Ilieș
Viorica Rusu
Our partners
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