How the Circular Economy can help toward the sustainability issue
Circular Economy Recycling in the textile industry is something that requires collaboration across the entire supply chain.
From designers, material suppliers, brand holders, retailers and consumers – to waste managers and recyclers, all players need to be involved in partnerships to identify who can be engaged in waste material collection, sorting and processing.
While the industry is working on a regenerative approach to fabrics and experimenting on new technologies, there are small steps that each one of us can take.
Waste – the biggest issue facing the industry
Waste is the most pressing problem in the fashion industry today.
An astonishing 100 billion products are being pumped out of factories every year. We now buy more clothes then we have ever bought before.
But this extra buying also means extra waste.
In the United States alone, consumers throw out the equivalent weight in clothes of the Empire State building every year!
This waste is either burnt or sent to landfills.
Obviously this is not a sustainable way of doing business.
Waste is our collective responsibility, and some brands are trying to help by doing simple things, like accepting their old products in store.
While this won’t solve the problem, it’s a good first step, showing that these brands are trying to take more responsibility and begin their personal sustainability journey.
New business models are also being put forward to help with the problem. Renting or swapping clothes instead of buying them is becoming more common, with a growing market for second-hand clothes in the developed world.
There are lots of amazing things going on but we just need to move.
Whether you work in the government, or you are a fashionista we’re all involved in the world of fashion.
The Lion, the Witch and the Ethical Wardrobe
One of the biggest problems with “buying green” when it comes to your clothes is the price.
Companies who make an effort to be sustainable usually end up paying for it, and that cost is passed on to the consumer.
The good news is, while supporting sustainable brands is great, it’s not the only way you can go green when building your wardrobe.
Appreciate and look after the clothes you have
The simplest way to have a more ethical wardrobe is to take care of the clothes you already have. This means you are not contributing to the problem by buying more clothes, but you’re also not dumping your old ones in a landfill somewhere.
Sew up rips and tears, hand wash clothes when required, generally treat your clothes better and they’ll last longer.
Shop smarter, not harder
The problem with the Fast Fashion culture is how cheap and quick clothes are bought and discarded.
Consumers buy shirts, tops and coats without really loving them, knowing they’ll only wear them two or three times, so it doesn’t really matter.
This just perpetuates the problem because a few weeks/months later, they’re back at on the high street looking for the next item to buy and discard.
Break the cycle
The only way to break this cycle is to start choosing better.
Consumers need to start looking at clothes like cars – which ones are going to last the longest if I take care of them?
Instead of five cheap, mediocre sweaters, keep looking until you find the one that you absolutely love and want to have years from now.
Clothing is like anything else; the cream always rises to the top.
No matter the brand, buying clothes that are well-made and consist of high-quality materials is more eco-friendly than buying lower-quality pieces, because they’ll last longer and need to be replaced less often.
By learning to wait you’ll not only buy less in the short-run, but also in the long-run because over time you’ll build up a much better, more satisfying wardrobe that way.
There’s nothing wrong with second-hand
Another simpler, cheaper and environmentally friendly way to shop is to go for vintage and second-hand clothes.
While some of the older generations might turn their nose up at wearing pre-worn clothes, younger generations have embraced it and in fact, with Apps such as Depop, Vinted, and ThredUp, many people under 25 are buying and selling their clothes directly to one another.
Again, if no new clothes are being bought, there is a reduction in the production line, meaning fewer resources are being used and older clothes don’t end up in a landfill.
Finding what you want in a vintage or second-hand store can be time-consuming, but often worth the effort in exchange for some truly unique pieces.
Companies are switching to a circular economy
There is a change happening in the fashion industry, with more and more brands making the switch to sustainability.
Brands like Witchery are demonstrating their commitment by providing innovative design to their packaging.
Bigger names like Stella McCartney and G-Star are also making strong commitments to the future with ethical practices, including sourcing, accountability, and recycling.
Sustainability may be all the rage now with brands, but it’s not just a buzzword – it’s here to stay.
The planet cannot continue with this rate of pollution, and we all must do our part to change things for the better, especially within this industry.
No matter what lies ahead, immago will be here, working together with our clients, manufacturers and distributors to ensure a fair and sustainable practice for everyone.
If you have any questions about the circular economy model, or how we can help your business meet whatever challenges the future holds, contact us today, and let’s a have a chat.