Reet Aus

Textile designer - Estonia

"Je voulais de participer au changement de l'industrie textile"

Meet  7/09/2018

 © Reet Aus


Reet Aus is a visionary designer. She began by studying fashion design at Tallinn University. She then began working as a fashion designer in 1997, in the world of theatre by making small collections as well as unique pieces that reflected her ethical principles, by recycling the scrap pieces of fabric, and mending the items of clothing … She then completed a doctorate degree, that resulted in the creation of her first zero waste productions  « Trash to Trend ». But in 2002,  Reet set her sights on a more ambitious project, as she wanted to act on an industrial level, where there were inevitably far more ethical issues.


She started a long period of analysis, with on-site observations and communications with maufacturers. She visited everything from cotton fields in South America to factories in Bangladesh. Throughout the years she perfected the conception of her clothes, and thanks to negociations and dialogs with manufacturers, she created the UPMADE certification, offering an efficient and profitable solution for an upcycling production process on a large scale. With her team, she developed the UPMADE® Software, a program that offers manufacturers a global analysis of their use of materials, that highlights the different ways of using  the materials they already own and making them profitable (for instance by using scrap fabric).


S’ensuit alors un travail de longue haleine, d’analyses, d’observations sur le terrain, et de communications avec les industriels. Elle visite beaucoup de lieux : des champs de coton en Amérique du Sud jusqu’aux usines au Bangladesh. Au fil des ans, elle perfectionne la conception de ses vêtements grâce à un dialogue et à des négociations avec les industriels. Elle lance la certification UPMADE et propose une solution efficace et rentable pour une production d’upcycling à grande échelleElle a développé avec son équipe un logiciel UPMADE® Software. Ce logiciel offre aux fabricants une analyse globale de l’utilisation de leurs matériaux et met en avant les possibilités de rentabiliser les matières qu’ils ont déjà (ex : chutes de tissu).



UPMADE® Software analyses the waste (to determine the types of materials that remain available for use afterwards) and also the environmental factors (to determine what ressources can be saved as a result). With this production data, a new recycled product is invisionned and a mini collection is created in order to undertake new analyses: how much energy and water could be saved, as well as looking into CO2 emissions and other forms of avoidable waste. After this process, production can begin.


She developed this system as a part of her own brand, with an iconic product, the Up-shirt. This system improved efficiency and reduced the environmental impact – on average, every article they produce uses 70% less water and 80% less energy compared to a standard product. The choice of a t-shirt to illustrate the efficiency of UPMADE was deliberate. Indeed, a t-shirt made in a factory produces up to 40% waste. This means that 40% of the cotton is cultivated in vain, and that large quantities of water and other ressources from the earth are wasted…


One of Reet’s sources of pride is having managed to implant an ecological branch in large industrial groups, like the Bangladesh Export-Import Company or Beximco, one of the most important clothing production companies in Southeast Asia.

Reet Aus has become a major figure in sustainable design, and today she continues to expand UPMADE and exchange with manufacturers. She aims to improve her system by finding social solutions. It’s a large scale project with a lot of things to do.


The other activity that Reet Aus partakes in is teaching. She is committed to sharing her expertise as well as her enthusiasm to futur generations of designers. She is optimistic and convinced that designers are the true actors for change; as they are the ones who conceive our daily lives  and model our environment.

Sensitivity, being conscious of responsabilities in ecological commitment and courage: these are the qualities that Reet deems necessary to be a good designer…

UPMADE® is one of the finalists in Ecolab Award of Circular Economy Digital Disruptor.

To find out more, head to her website:

 © Reet Aus


Laure Fernandez
Designer textile
Mare Kelpman
Styliste Designer 
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