A tour of the warehouse of sustainable fashion company ACS Clothing in Lanarkshire

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Imagine what it would be like to have a robot dry and iron a shirt straight from the washing machine in 30 seconds.

It’s a key piece of equipment at the ACS Clothing warehouse in Lanarkshire, where the aim is to get clothes repaired and cleaned as quickly as possible.

The sustainable fashion brand offers a rental service, working with brands that offer monthly subscriptions to customers.

There are over three million garments in the purpose-built 200,000 square foot warehouse with garments flying from department to department on what is known as “the wave.”

Warehouse: Workers help repair and clean clothes.STV News
Warehouse: Workers help repair and clean clothes.

Raymond Alan O’Donnell is a trainee Operations Manager and has been with the company for five years.

He approaches each day like he’s “solving a puzzle” as he navigates processing thousands of orders, for multiple brands, each day.

“All of our systems are automated.

“Yeah, we have inputs to kind of send whatever we want, but after that it’s still automated and it still amazes you how fast and efficient it all is.

“When it goes through our sorters, when it comes to packing, everything is in order, for this order, and there are thousands of orders so every time it’s good and it’s perfect,” said he declared.

Robot: Shirts can be dried and ironed in 30 seconds.STV News
Robot: Shirts can be dried and ironed in 30 seconds.

The warehouse stores clothes from several different brands under one roof.

There is a sophisticated computer system that allows teams to know what item is where.

Gilroy Francis Rocque, team leader, said: “As each item of clothing arrives it is scanned so that there is a record of every item of clothing that goes in and out.

“It’s so well organized that even when I was a new member of staff it wasn’t too difficult to figure out because there’s a process in place that helps us know everything, where each item of clothing is.”

Around 45,000 garments are cleaned each week by the skilled team led by Angela Grant.

She said: ‘I have to make sure I go and check what needs to be done first in the laundry department and also in the cleaning department and then I establish a routine and instruct my staff to do whatever must be done first.

“Everyone knows their own role.”

Clothes: Approximately 45,000 clothes are cleaned each week.STV News
Clothes: Approximately 45,000 clothes are cleaned each week.

The sniff test is one of the more unusual yet crucial roles in ensuring quality control.

The company also repairs damaged returns sent back to retailers, allowing them to be resold.

It is a circular business model that the company has applied since 1997.

Andy Rough, CEO of ACS Clothing Limited, was frustrated that the fashion industry was not more on the agenda at the COP26 climate conference.

He said: “He was talking a lot about utilities and transport, but fashion is one of the industries that creates the most pollutants in the world.

“Being able to enjoy fashion but enjoying fashion in a different way that has less impact on the environment is the way forward.”

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