The hirewear and garment refurbishment provider ACS Clothing is blazing a trail for sustainability while enjoying impressive growth, with the help of a £3m loan from BOOST&Co.

The Glasgow-based firm, which started life as a wholesale supplier of Highlandwear, provides rental fulfilment and garment refurbishment services to a wide range of fashion rental and retail partners, and is now responsible for 80% of the market share of the men’s hirewear sector in the UK.

Not content with its expansion in recent years, the business has diversified to work with established menswear, womenswear and babywear brands to promote sustainable alternatives to fast fashion. Its team has taken a groundbreaking approach to improving the condition of clothing that is returned to well-known retailers with damage or stains: in-house textile specialists are able to restore such items and return them to circulation, protecting income and reducing textile waste.

Innovation is key to ACS, which runs the only automated rental fulfilment centre in the UK, enabling consumer brands to scale and to enter the rental market quickly. The company has also equipped a purpose-built warehouse with cutting-edge technology, such as ozone chambers that can remove all odours and bacteria from clothes.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our operation,” says Joni O’Brien, customer services director at ACS. “We’ve achieved zero waste to landfill and we’re continuing to reduce our emissions as we aim to become a net-zero firm.” O’Brien adds that the company is well placed to adapt quickly to market changes amid a historic shift in thinking among shoppers, as greater environmental awareness prompts a move from “ownership” to “usership”.

The business, which has been operating for more than 25 years, recently won a number of new clients, also signing a prestigious contract to provide cleaning, processing and garment refurbishment to the major industry player Moss Bros Hire. Despite the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, “later in 2021 and beyond is looking bumper for weddings”, O’Brien says. “There’s lots of pent-up demand.”

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