Circular Fashion: A New Perspective for Fashion & Sustainability
“We are now starting to see smaller brands that are specifically designing collections with closed-loop production in mind. These brands will be the real disrupters of the fashion industry and definitely the ones to watch.”
– Madeline Petrow, Founder of MAMOQ quoted in Pebble Magazine on 2018 Fashion Trends.
It looks like our founder has the right idea. Interest in circular fashion is definitely on the rise, and this was further confirmed after visiting Ethical Fashion Show Berlin last week where there were a number of talks, exhibitions, and displays emphasising innovations and breakthroughs in circular production.
Since circular fashion may very well be the buzzword of 2018, let’s break it down so we all know what we’re talking about.
In a nutshell, ‘circular fashion’ can be defined as clothing & apparel that is designed, sourced, and manufactured with the intent that after use, consumers can recycle their old garments back into the loop of production.
Considering the above, both the consumers and producers play an important role in creating a more circular fashion industry. If we want circular fashion to become the norm, this is what we need to see:
Innovations in Design – ‘Waste Is Design Gone Wrong”
When designing for circular fashion, you have to think ahead to the end of the garment’s life. The idea is that instead of throwing the garment away after use, it can be re-claimed by the fashion industry, broken down, recycled into new fabric and used again.
Thus, the initial design must consider the recycling process, and keep in mind the current capabilities of the recycling industry (a story for another time). Currently, it is extremely difficult to break down blended materials into their pure components so 100% compositions are by far the most effective materials to use for circular design at this time.
If it is impossible to only have one material- such as it is with shoes- then innovations in design can facilitate the manual separation of key components that can then be broken down individually.
Therefore, designers will have to innovate in tandem with the recycling industry in efforts to produce garments that are both stylish, and functional, as well as easily recycled.
Changes in Mentality - ‘Clothing is Not Disposable’
In essence, circular fashion tries to extend the life-time value of materials in the fashion industry, so instead of being used once, the materials can be used over and over again. As the owners of our clothing, we can help extend the life of our garments by simply taking care of them. Mending and repairing our clothing before we give up on them is a very easy way to extend our garments life. It also helps to reverse the mentality that clothing is disposable, and can be discarded without much thought.
Increase in Recycling
While the fashion industry, textile industry and designers all play a crucial role in spreading the circular fashion philosophy, ultimately it depends on us to recycle our garments. In the UK alone, it is estimated that over 235 million items of clothing will end up in rotting in a landfill, and that is not where they belong!
Brands, shops and designers can help encourage customers to send back old clothes through incentive schemes (..we are currently working on that!) If you don’t know of any clothing recycling points near you, then try to at least donate your clothes, give them to a friend, or make something new! Anything but the trash!