It is undoubtedly a critical question for the majority of apparel brands and retailers on their path to circularity. Also, for those who are interested, the question of where to begin a linear system into a circular, zero waste textiles system remains unanswered.
Fashion professionals are being re-educated for a circular economy, and there is a lot to learn from circular economy’s design strategies, business models, and collaborative methods. Moreover, researchers are coming up with new ideas and experimenting and applying them. This is a matter of huge cost and time investment.
Supporting such a system still requires patience, investment, considering the various technologies and methods, solution providers, and innovations which is available.
From automated sorting technologies that enable textile-to-textile recycling, such as the Fibersort, to third-party providers such as The Renewal Workshop or ThredUP — there is a trove of opportunities for the industry to get started with. So, how can we best prepare fast fashion followers to transform the industry from the existing system?
Here’s what we can do:
The most important thing needed to be done is to circulate the news to the consumers on how badly our planet has been damaged by the industry. Explain to them our intentions, reasons and encourage them to support sustainable fashion.
To make the transition to a circular design, apparel professionals must expand their knowledge and comprehend the use and end-of-life phases of a garment’s lifecycle. To proceed, consider the use phase; in other design fields, it is common to adhere to a user-centred philosophy, with the goal of creating a product that meets the needs and desires of the end-user.
Researchers must think “What is the most logical and sustainable design for this garment, given the function it will serve for the consumer?” Answering this question highlights current design-function misalignments, such as the widespread use of long-lasting synthetic fibre in the production of trend-focused fast fashion items. Designers must design for appropriate lifecycles by selecting materials and constructions that serve the use and function of a product.
We must consider what happens when a customer says goodbye to a garment. For example, what is it about a garment that makes it recyclable? What a designer considers embellishment (e.g., sequins or metallic studs) is contamination to a recycler, and many blended materials cannot currently be processed.
Recycling technologies’ input requirements are increasing as they advance and develop. As a result, the industry and society should stay up to date on developments and adjust their circular design guidelines in ‘real-time.’ Designers must embrace the complexities of end-of-life supply chain processes (gathering, sorting, cleaning, repairing, reusing, recycling) with the same zeal that they have embraced early supply chain processes (spinning, dyeing, weaving, printing, manufacturing).
Stay tuned to learn more about circular fashion and how to live a sustainable clutter-free life.
Until next time,
The incredible Borw Team