Remember when terms like "sustainable", "ethical", and "eco-friendly" were seldom heard? With rising global concerns such as the climate crisis and wage theft These terms have gained increased significance. Today, a new term, "circular fashion", is making waves. But what exactly does this mean, and how does it impact us?
As conscious consumers advocating for sustainability, we need to understand the concept of circular fashion and how it fits into our lifestyle choices. This article aims to delve into the world of circular fashion - its roots, current state, and how we can align our consumer behavior with this concept.
Understanding Circular Fashion Practices
Circular fashion practices is a concept that emphasizes the importance of an item's entire lifecycle - from production to its end of life. It advocates thoughtful manufacturing processes that focus on the longevity and life cycle of our belongings. The aim is to design out waste and pollution, thus putting an end to the linear models that have been detrimental to our planet.
Circular fashion practice is a conscientious model that highlights the importance of an item's entire lifecycle, from production to its end of life.
The inception of circular fashion is the result of a merge between the "circular economy" (a model that favors reusing and recycling over the typical cycle of take-make-waste) and sustainable and ethical fashion. The evolution of these two sectors has led to the birth of a new category, one that brings ambition, advocacy, and a commitment to investing in long-lasting clothing, far removed from the fast fashion norm.
Here are some key elements of circular fashion:
- Reduced use of materials in production for better recyclability
- Efforts to eliminate nonrecyclable and polluting materials from the supply chain
- Reusing everything from garment offcuts to packaging
- Ensuring the longest possible use and reuse, including collection schemes and recycling
- Safe return of unavoidable waste to nature
The Birth of Circular Fashion
The term "circular fashion" was first introduced in 2014 at a seminar in Sweden that focused on adopting a more circular approach to the fashion industry. The launch came at a time when the industry's impact was under severe scrutiny. Just a year before, in 2013, the Rana Plaza clothing manufacturing complex in Bangladesh had collapsed, causing the death of over 1,000 workers. The tragedy, along with other questionable practices in the industry, made fast fashion a less desirable model for consumers.
Since then, the push for more sustainable, ethical, and circular systems has grown exponentially across various industries. The core of this shift lies in understanding where things originate, what they're made from, who made them, and being accountable for their overall lifecycle. It's hard to imagine a time when sustainability wasn't a significant consideration.
Since 2014, the shift towards more sustainable, ethical, and circular systems has grown exponentially, reflecting in how we act, choose, and strive to be more sustainable.
As the concept of circular fashion has evolved, an interesting aspect is what it symbolizes. Although the concept of the circular economy has been around for years, its convergence with the fashion industry raises important questions: Will this lead to a whole new economic fashion system? Can circularity coexist with sustainably produced fashion?
The Way Forward
One possible answer is that we may witness a shift in our economic structure towards high-quality products that consumers will keep for longer periods. This shift, coupled with continuous support for slow fashion (consuming less), could result in a cleaner, healthier, and less impactful industry. To achieve this, both consumers and corporations have significant roles to play.
The Role of Consumers
Consumers are critical to the development and implementation of circular fashion. Increased demand and support for more sustainable models have led to the incorporation of circularity in supply chains, manufacturing, and the final stage - after a consumer is done with an item. With more stores offering recycling programs and councils considering textile recycling, there are more alternatives for our clothes than just ending up in a landfill.
Here are a few actions consumers can take to align with circular fashion:
- Buy less and choose better: Invest in high-quality items that will last longer.
- Repair and reuse: Instead of throwing away damaged items, repair them or find new uses for them.
- Recycle: Participate in recycling programs and ensure your discarded items don't end up in a landfill.
Circular fashion has brought about a wave of greater consumer knowledge, powerful advocacy, and overall acknowledgement that the fashion industry's previous linear approaches need to change. This demand for transparency, longevity, and a new framework is set to continue, representing a future for fashion that's less harmful and more harmonious with all the resources, processes, and people involved. Although we're still far from a completely circular model in fashion, the increasing awareness and investment in this concept are already preventing waste and degradation, marking a step in the right direction.
Circular fashion has brought about a wave of greater consumer knowledge, powerful advocacy, and overall acknowledgement that the fashion industry's previous linear approaches need to change.