What Is Circular Fashion? Fashions Sustainable Future
Fast fashion is one of the biggest polluters on the planet, and it is no secret that the whole process needs a refresh with the planet in mind. This is not such a fault for consumers as it can be difficult to comprehend the impact fast fashion has on the environment as we shop at our favourite stores, but the clothes are made thousands of miles away. It is now time to be more conscious of their buying habits which many people already are. Many designers are also changing their process in how they are manufacturing their clothes. In this article, we will go through what is circular fashion and how it differs from linear fashion processes.
Circular fashion is the system where clothing is produced in a way that when the product is at its end of life, it is equally as important. The system considers the type of material and the production method very carefully so that it minimises the amount of waste throughout the whole process. They also take into consideration how it can later be repurposed into something else. Circular fashion’s main focus is the longevity and life cycle of the products including how to design out waste and pollution. Linear fashion is where there is no real consideration for repurposing and when the item is finished, it will then end up in the landfill.
If the fashion industry adopted a closed loop process, the materials used would be reused continuously and recycled which will in turn eliminate waste and pollution. This is due to the demand for raw materials being much lower as there will already be some in circulation. If circular fashion was used throughout the world, the fashion industry could overcome some of our planet’s key worries including climate change, pollution as well as a reduction in poverty due to workers being paid and treated fairly.
Let’s start with a full tracksuit due to its nature, the materials need to be breathable and light. In a linear model, the designer will create the vision for the tracksuit, the production team work on picking the best material, the factory will mass produce the product and then stores will then sell the product. Due to the piece being in the shop and having not seen the whole process, it is easy to see why many people see this item as disposable, meaning after they are finished with them, they will throw them in the bin.
When it comes to circular fashion, every single step from design to retail and aftercare draws to the longevity and sustainability of the tracksuit. The designers should be considering the following:
- Will the material be durable enough to last years to come?
- How long can the designer see the person wearing it?
- Is the style trending or is it timeless?
- For the production team: Are the materials sustainable? Can the materials be disassembled, are they biodegradable or can it be reused?
- The Factory: Are the workers being treated well and paid fairly?
- Are the factories contributing to their local pollution?
- Once the tracksuit is on its way out, can it be repaired or redesigned? Rather than end up in the landfill.
There are many benefits that cna be had from adopting a circular economy, it doesnt just aim to reduce the serious impact of a linear economy, but it also builds the stepping stones for others to follow. It helps to create business and jobs, economic opportunities whilst also having environmental and social benefits. The whole process is designed to take everyone and everything into consideration. Other benefits include:
Less Waste In Landfills: Waste reduction is a key priority for circular fashion so the design makes materials to be used and then reused.
Less Natural Materials Created: Circular fashion aims to reuse materials that are in circulation meaning there is less need to create raw materials.
Green Energy Is Promoted Reducing Pollution: Many circular fashion brands are connected at the source and ensure that factories and other logistics are using renewable energy such as solar and wind.
Consumers play a vital role when it comes to circular fashion implementation and development. This is done by increased demand and support for the process. There are some companies that are already starting to adopt this method such as Stella Mckartney. More stores are going to be offering recycle and re-use or repair schemes such as Levi’s who repair your broken jeans.
Here are some things that consumers can do to help encourage circular fashion:
- Research brands befor you buy
- Support sustainable fashion
- Live by the four R’s of fashion
- Buy better, buy less (buy cheap, buy twice)
- Analyse your wardrobe and see what you need rather than what you want.
- Buy second hand when possible
- Rent dresses and garments for events
- Join clothes swapping social groups
- Look after your clothes
- Ask yourself, what are the alternatives to throwing away?
- Use repair schemes and recycle schemes
- Choose sustainable materials
There are endless benefits and possibilities to circular fashion, and it is up to us and businesses to follow a more sustainable living and adopt these methods to help our planet repair itself. If businesses follow a circular fashion process, and we follow these simple steps, the world will eventually be a healthier place to live.