How a Wakefield woman overcame Covid obstacles to launch her own clothing brand

An entrepreneur has overcome a series of challenges caused by the coronavirus outbreak to launch a sustainable clothing brand making activewear for women from recycled plastic bottles.

Victoria Windle with Emily Hutchinson.

Wakefield-born Victoria Windle set up Kit Change with business partner Emily Hutchison in November 2020 after two years of planning.

The best friends carved their careers out at major high street brands including Topshop and New Look.

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Ms Windle said: “We wanted to create something we could be proud of, something that cared equally about the environment, the partners we work with, as well as the quality and design.”

Four months since launching, Kit Change says it has quadrupled its turnover with some products nearly selling out overnight.

However, it hasn’t been a straightforward launch for the business.

Development ground to a halt after the first lockdown in March 2020 was imposed in the UK and the mill in China, which turns used plastic bottles into fabric, was shut.

The duo had previously visited the fabric mill near Shanghai where used plastic bottles were being ground down into pellets and spun into new polyester yarn.

“It was a massive plant, a family-owned business, where they had developed the technology to turn waste plastic into a range of good quality fabrics, saving water and energy in the process compared to the manufacture of traditional polyester,” Ms Windle said.

The second lockdown and the subsequent Government restrictions on travelling between tiers then put paid to their plans for a photoshoot with professional models who’d been booked to showcase the range.

The business, however, is now selling out of stock and has also managed to bag celebrity endorsements.

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