Circular fashion: a new concept in sustainability
The textile industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, contributing to around 10% of global carbon emissions; more than international flights and maritime shipping combined!
And it’s not just the emissions which are a problem.
It takes nearly 3,000 litres of fresh water to make a single cotton T-shirt… that’s the equivalent of two and a half years drinking water for one person.
Add to that the astonishing levels of pollution caused by textile factories, and it’s hard to argue that something drastic must change within the industry, and soon.
Fortunately, some brand leaders are aiming to tackle the problem. Positive steps are being taken throughout the industry, on a global scale, at every stage of the production chain.
One of these new concepts is called Circular Fashion.
What is Circular Fashion?
Circular Fashion is an off-shoot of the circular economy, a concept developed by the Ellen MacAuthur Foundation.
The circular economy aims to underpin a transition to renewable energy sources while cutting down waste products.
At its core, a circular economy advocates that all materials and products in society are used and circulated among people for as long as possible, in an environmentally safe, effective and fair manner.
Circular fashion uses the same principles and challenges that the industry’s linear production line does, that ends with 300,000 tonnes of clothes being discarded in landfills each year.
The key principles of Circular Fashion
Dr. Brismar is head of Green Strategy and owner of circularfashion.com, and he has identified some key principles of the circular fashion ethos.
Design is at the very beginning of the fashion process, and as such, questions need to be asked from the very start.
Designers needs to think about what purpose the product serves and who it is for. Is it being used once and then discarded, or will it be designed for longevity?
Ideally, in a circular economy, all products should be designed so as to be either biodegradable, recyclable or a combination of both.
The sourcing of materials plays a big part in the Circular Fashion process.
Manufacturers should aim to source and produce locally, helping the local community in an environmental and just way.
Materials should be produced with efficiency, should be non-toxic, and renewable wherever possible.
Finally, brands, manufacturers and consumers need to collaborate with each other in order to get the most out of items and reduce waste wherever possible.
Support should be given for recycling, as well as a promotion of sustainability and the circular economy. A change in the zeitgeist is underway, especially with the younger generation, but more needs to be done.
3 Brands leading the way
With a change in the industry happening before our eyes, there are plenty of brands who are at the vanguard of modern sustainability.
Big names like Stella McCartney and G-Star are making strong commitments to the future with ethical practices, including sourcing, accountability, and recycling, but it’s the smaller companies which are leading the way in Circular Fashion.
Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat was established back in 1968, and today their headquarters in Ebeltoft, Denmark is 100 percent fuelled by renewable energy.
In 2017 the company launched the sustainable recycling company Really, which upcycles waste wool and cotton to create materials used in the design, furniture and construction industries.
Kvadrat also donates the textiles no longer in its standard collection to charitable institutions or creative projects or sells them cheaply through the Queen of Raw online fabric marketplace.
EDUN was one of the first brands to promote sustainable fashion. Created by U2’s Bono and his wife Alison, the company focuses on making sustainable products in Africa, building long-lasting relationships with local artisans and creating jobs throughout the continent.
US company Everlane pioneered the concept of a transparent supply chain through its “radical transparency” approach.
The company spends months searching the globe for the best factories, implementing a compliance audit to evaluate factors like fair wages, reasonable hours, and environment.
Only factories with a score of 90 or above are chosen to make their products.
Join the sustainable revolution today
With the world evolving and changing, people are starting to change with it, and Circular Fashion is possibly the next step in the industry.
Through this concept, the lifespan of a garment is cyclical.
From the design and its purpose, through to the materials selected to make it and the production values used, and finally the end of the product’s life and it’s potential to be recycled.
All these changes and considerations mean less will be manufactured, bought and discarded, helping to save the planet.
If you would like to know more about Circular Fashion or how we can assist to make your label and packaging needs more sustainable, then contact us today.
We take great pride in working together with our clients, manufacturers and distributors to ensure a fair and sustainable practice for everyone.