Circular fashion – or the circular economy in fashion – refers to an approach to the design, production, consumption, and disposal of clothing and accessories that aims to create a closed-loop system, thereby, minimizing waste, reducing environmental impact, and maximizing resource efficiency throughout the entire lifecycle of a garment. The concept of circular fashion is based on the principles of the circular economy, which seeks to shift from the traditional linear model of “take-make-dispose” to a circular model that promotes resource conservation, reuse, recycling, and regeneration. Key aspects of circular fashion include:
Design for Durability and Longevity: Circular fashion emphasizes designing garments that are durable, timeless, and made to last. This encourages consumers to keep their clothing for longer periods, reducing the demand for fast fashion and its associated waste.
Use of “Sustainable” Materials: Circular fashion promotes the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, such as organic cotton, recycled fibers, and innovative materials made from waste or renewable resources. It aims to reduce reliance on non-renewable resources and minimize the environmental impact of material production.
Recycling and Upcycling: Circular fashion encourages the recycling and upcycling of materials to create new garments and accessories. This involves diverting textile waste from landfills and transforming it into new products through processes like mechanical recycling, chemical recycling, or fiber-to-fiber recycling. Upcycling involves creatively repurposing and transforming existing garments into new and unique pieces.
Repair and Maintenance: Circular fashion promotes repair and maintenance practices to extend the lifespan of garments. This includes offering repair services, providing information on care instructions, and encouraging consumers to mend and alter their clothing instead of discarding it.
Rental and Sharing Models: Circular fashion encourages alternative consumption models, such as clothing rental and sharing platforms. These models allow consumers to access a variety of garments without needing to own them, reducing the overall demand for new clothing production.
Responsible Disposal: Circular fashion emphasizes responsible disposal methods for garments at the end of their life. This may involve implementing take-back programs, facilitating proper recycling, or composting of materials, or supporting initiatives that divert clothing waste from landfills.
Circular fashion endeavors to create a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry by reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting responsible consumption and production practices. It recognizes the need for systemic change in the fashion industry to address environmental and social challenges associated with traditional linear fashion models.