Circular Fashion a New Concept of Sustainable Fashion Design | Circular Fashion Economy

Posted by Sustainable Denim on Saturday, November 16, 2019 2



circular fashion
By 2030 the world population will reach at 9 billion thus the natural will strive to meet the human demands and environment will receive huge negative impact of industrialization. The aim of the concept circular fashion is to ensure that the garments are made from safe and renewable materials and the old garments are processed into a new one.


 

What is Circular Fashion?

Dr Anna Brismar‘Circular fashion’ can be defined as clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced and provided with the intention to be used and circulate responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use

It is a somewhat broader term that ‘sustainable fashion’, as circular fashion combines the principles of both sustainability and circularity,” says Dr Anna Brismar.

The concept ‘circular fashion’ was first introduced and used in 2014 by two persons, almost simultaneously and independently of each other. One of them was Dr. Anna Brismar, head and owner of the Swedish consultancy firm Green Strategy. Dr. Brismar used the term circular fashion for the first time in June 2014 at an early project meeting when planning for a sustainable fashion event in central Stockholm (thereafter named CIRCULAR FASHION – SHOW & TALK 2014).

The another person was Felix Ockborn, at the time environmental sustainability coordinator for H&M in Stockholm. Felix used the term ‘circular fashion’ in its Swedish form, in his presentation Cirkulärt mode i globala värdekedjor at a seminar during Almedalsveckan on July 2, 2014.

 

The Importance of Circular Fashion?

Sustainability has never been important to consumers, nor to the fashion industry. But the new generation cares about the planet; and don’t want small animals to be choking on plastics they find in the oceans.

Approximately 300,000 tones of unused clothes are binned, not recycled, every year across the globe. American Citizens only through their used cloths and other textiles to landfill which is approximately 26 billion pounds. Britain alone is expected to send 235million pieces of clothing to landfill every year.But the majority of aforementioned items could have been re-worn, reused or recycled.

In order to consider it, a relatively unknown term is currently being introduced around the industry claiming to be the answer – circular fashion. It relates with the term circular economy concept (a new business model) - an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and ensuring the best use of resources. It challenges fashion’s linear production line that ends with clothes being discarded in landfill.

Fast Fashion VS Circular Fashion:

Fast fashion is a modern-day phenomenon. It follows a “take-make-dispose” pattern, and enables companies to market more, manufacturers to produce more, and consumers to purchase the new trends at cheap price. It seems a win-win situation but until we consider the true consequence of it.Fashion Fashion CycleCircular Fashion Wheel
                 Fast Fashion Cycle                                                           Circular Fashion Wheel
A circular fashion industry is one that has a regenerative system in which cloths are circulated for as long as their maximum value is retained, and then returned safely to the biosphere when they are no longer of human use.

Is circular fashion a new trend?

The answer is “No”, it is a concept.

The main goal of this initiative is to encourage the collaboration among the leaders of the textile industry, brands, innovators and stakeholders to move towards a circular fashion economy.

According to this initiative, the entire fashion industry needs to re-design its operating model. As the industry transforms into a circular system, it will be able to unlock various economic opportunities.

The circular economy is an academic alternative to a traditional economy which is linear, where you produce, consume and throw away. In the circular economy scenario, you keep resources in use for as long as possible, and extract and harvest the maximum value from the products whilst in use. Then you recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life and thereby you create a new business model. Something from nothing. From no value to value.

 

The impact of circular fashion approach in fashion design:

The fashion industry keeps focusing on fast fashion though linear production method. But the concept of Circular Fashion will alter the view and shape of designing. Apparently,  the fashion designers are thinking for the ideas of sustainable fashion and circular economy to merge. The changes need to bring in light of designing for the circular fashion as follows-
Fashion Design promotes circular fashion economoy
Designed so that its sub-components can be disassembled or separated to facilitate repair, remake, reuse and eventually material recycling at its end of use;

Designed with high quality materials and in timeless style to maximize its durability, longevity and attractiveness to many users (if passed on to new users);

Designed on demand (custom-made) in order to be more optimally designed for its specific user in terms of fabric/material, style and fit, thus increasing its perceived value and likely lifespan;

 

The principles of circular economy need to consider in fashion design:

Green Strategy, an innovation-driven and research-based consultancy firm specializing in sustainability and circularity issues of the fashion industry, has identified sixteen key principles to support and promote a more circular and sustainable fashion, apparel and textile industry:

    1. Design with a purpose
Circular fashion design principles    2. Design for longevity
    3. Design for resource efficiency
    4. Design for biodegradability
    5. Design for recycle
    6. Source and produce locally
    7. Source and produce without toxicity
    8. Source and produce with efficiency
    9. Source and produce with renewable
    10. Source and produce with good ethics
    11. Provide services to support longer life
    12. Reuse, recycle or compost all remains
    13. Collaborate well and widely

The first 13 principles are defined from a manufacturer’s perspective, and the other three are relevant to the consumer’s perspective.

    14. Use, wash and repair with care
    15. Consider loan, rent, swap or redesign instead of buying new
    16. Buy quality as opposed to quantity

 

The advantages of circular fashion economy:


    – Reduced dependency on imported raw materials.
    – Creation of Eco-friendly industries and jobs.
    – Eco-friendly brands benefit from a better public image.
    – Reduction in environmental damage caused by resource extraction.

However, this transformation is not possible with a single brand or individual. To actually make fashion circular, businesses, governments, citizens, and innovators have to join forces.  Make Fashion Circular initiative has already brought many industry leaders together including GAP, Burberry, H&M, Nike, and Stella McCartney.

The Make Fashion Circular initiative is yet another signal that circular fashion is not just a trend, but a shift in the industry

References:
  • https://circularfashion.com/circular-fashion-definition/
  • https://motif.org/news/circular-fashion-economy/https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/perspective/circular-fashion-why-and-how-bangladesh-could-take-the-lead-1610374
  • http://www.greenstrategy.se/what-is-circular-fashion-2/
  • https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/fashion/a27189370/circular-fashion-definition/
  • The future of circular fashion report.

About the Author

Md. Firoz Kabir(M.Sc in Textile Engineering)

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