Circular fashion is a great solution to the issues caused by clothing waste and overproduction. The current linear ‘take, make, waste’ model results in tonnes of landfill and use of raw resources. A circular fashion economy can replace that, and it is already becoming increasingly popular. So, what is circular fashion and how can it be a helpful tool for solving the environmental concerns with the fashion industry? Let’s dive into this positive development and review the ways that circular fashion can change the future for the better.
Circular fashion is a way of keeping clothing in circulation, reducing the need to use up primary resources to make new clothes, and saving clothes from being sent to landfill. There are many ways in which brands and consumers can partake in the circular economy, whether it is using recycled materials, reducing waste through resale, or mending clothes. What is most important is that consumers make the most of what they already own in their wardrobes, support ethical brands when buying new, and think of solutions to prevent their used garments from being thrown in the bin. This may be through selling, lending, mending, or making use of any circular initiatives brands have in place.
What is most promising about circular fashion is that it is realistic, and there are many things that we as consumers can do to solve the environmental impact of fashion. As we know, the current model is not working. The amount of water and land needed to create new garments, not to mention the excess of greenhouse gases emitted, has been highly destructive to our planet. But the linear model is not the only one. Circular fashion redefines the meaning of ‘new’. A garment can be made of old, pre-loved textiles, and still be new to its owner. Shopping with ethical and circular fashion brands is a leap in the right direction.
CIRCULAR FASHION HAS A GOAL
Circular fashion is a promising solution, addressing the environmental impact of the fashion industry, which makes more than a hundred billion pieces of clothing each year. Entirely circular fashion means not only a reduction in waste, but also less draining of our planet’s virgin resources. The aim is to be zero waste. The positive impact of a zero waste fashion future for the planet would be enormous. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we burn or landfill the equivalent of one rubbish truckload of clothing every second. “Fashion industry is responsible for 40 million tonnes of textile waste a year”, reads The State of Fashion report 2022, by The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company. Circular fashion means all the garments we have get looped into a cycle of being broken down and remade, meaning no garments should end up in landfill or an incinerator.
Although there are many goals such as waste and emissions reduction, certain organisations have encouraging goals that allow us to imagine what a circular future might look like. World Circular Textiles Day, celebrated annually on the 8th of October, has the goal of an entirely circular fashion industry by 2050! By marking and tracking our progress, we can maintain our inspiration. If more people find out about the importance of a circular fashion future and the impact it can have, we could make a bigger difference.
We feel that circular fashion will be the next trend, not only out of environmental necessity, but also for the new avenues it opens up for businesses. Brands can be more creative and inventive in thinking of new ways to rework old garments and making plans for what consumers can do with their products when they have finished with them. It is exciting to imagine what new products might look like if we continue striving to reduce, reuse, and recycle!
An example of a circular practice brands can implement is closed-loop recycling. This kind of recycling remakes old textiles into new ones to form new garments, thus removing the need to create new textiles, which would use up water and other natural resources. The fashion industry is responsible for creating 40 million tonnes of textile waste a year, so closed-loop recycling is both a critical and exciting opportunity for brands, who now have the ability to contribute to the circular economy.
Considering what else can be done to contribute to the circular economy, Fairbee has introduced the Buy Back Guarantee! This helps consumers shop even more consciously – not only buying ethically made products, but also having the chance to return them after they are finished with them. So, what does the Buy Back Guarantee entail? Simply put, we buy products back from the consumer. When we have received the product, we will offer it to second hand shops, offer it to a recycling or upcycling party, and allow it to be loved again! This works to extend the life cycle of the textiles and prevents products from ending up in landfill.
If you have purchased a product from us and want to return it, you can get money back. Not only do you benefit from this, but so does the planet. Contributing to a circular economy through the Buy Back Guarantee ensures your garment stays out of landfill and is made into something new.
BRANDS TO WATCH
So, what are some examples of Fairbee brands that contribute to a circular fashion economy by using recycled textiles to make something new? Although Fairbee foregrounds ethical and sustainable brands that make lasting and timeless pieces, these brands in particular make new from old in their circular approach.
With their creative and youthful designs, Atelier Jungles is not only fashionable, but also eco-conscious and sustainable. They state, ‘The fabrics we use are either biological textiles, with natural colouring or designer deadstock which are leftover fabrics from big companies that are usually burned or destroyed’. By making use of deadstock fabrics, Atelier Jungles contributes to a circular fashion future. They ensure textiles are not wasted but are instead made into something new.
MUD Jeans contributes to a circular fashion economy by making their jeans from 40% recycled materials. Predominantly, their new jeans are made from a material that is derived from old, discarded jeans. They have already proven that the effects of contributing to a circular economy can be massively positive for the environment. In the last 4 years alone, they have saved 20,000 pairs of jeans from landfill and incineration.
In terms of circular jewellery, Solitude creates their pieces from both real and recycled 14 karat gold and 925 silver. They do this to not only make use of used gold pieces, but also to ensure their jewellery won’t wear away and get discarded, creating more waste. This would only occur with gold plated jewellery. This decision ensures Solitude runs a circular business model that reduces waste.
Furb Upcycled creates fashionable and modern pieces from old, discarded garments. Upcycling is central to the circular fashion future we seek – it gives a new life to discarded textiles that would otherwise be landfilled or burned. Furb Upcycled does exactly that with their eco-conscious and chic pieces.