As we did in this previous article defining circular fashion and its relationship with the textile industry, in this analysis the goal is to establish the close relationship between sustainable fashion and circular fashion.
At the end of the post you will find the articles on sustainable fashion that are available on the blog and you will be able to download for free the exhaustive global reports that the most prestigious international consultants have generated on sustainability.
Sustainable fashion and circular fashion to save the planet.
The question that the sector and the fashion industry is asking itself is:
Will we save the planet with a sustainable and circular fashion system?
Without giving a first direct answer to this question, what we can confirm is that this new system of the textile and fashion industry is a new path, an authentic and direct formula to reconcile the passion for fashion with sustainability.
Until not so long ago, sustainability was not relevant for consumers when making a purchase decision about a fashion item and therefore was not taken into consideration by the textile industry or brands. This situation has changed with the advent of new generations of conscious consumers who are focusing on sustainable and circular fashion. The new generations make purchasing decisions with the environment in mind and have internalized the need to care for and preserve the planet.
Sustainable fashion and circular fashion have given rise to more ethical brands.
The new purchasing habits of conscious consumers and their focus on the circular economy have given rise to a new generation of sustainable, ethical or ecological clothing brands that are beginning to compete within the fashion market in a very vigorous way, with the driving force of new values and authenticity as their banner.
This is how a concept appears that until very recently was relatively unknown but that now, and especially this last year, is mentioned with increasing frequency in the industry, in the sector and that seems to be the model to follow: the circular fashion.
As we defined in the previous article, it is a concept rooted in and generated from the model of the circular economy. A system of design, production and recycling conceived to minimize waste and make the most of resources, which challenges the linear production line of fashion and aims to banish used clothing and footwear from the landfill or incinerator as the final destination.
Circular fashion contains sustainable fashion.
Going into the definitions and characteristics, circular fashion is a broader concept than sustainable fashion, as circular fashion combines the principles of sustainability and circularity. And its scope covers not only fashion itself – fashion style – but also sportswear and everyday clothing.
Thus we come to the conclusion that we can define as circular fashion or circular product the clothing, footwear and accessories designed, obtained, produced and provided with the intention of being used and distributed responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in its most valuable form and thereafter, when human use is no longer contemplated, at the end of its life, returned safely to the biosphere.
Circular fashion is based on the concept of cyclicity.
Circular fashion shows us that each part of the useful life of a garment is cyclical: it starts by designing the piece with the double purpose of providing it with durability and timelessness; then it continues with the appropriate selection of materials, focusing on whether or not they are sustainable, before the manufacture of the article. In addition, we seek a fair and ethical production, which respects the rights of workers.
Once the article has been used and even damaged by its use, it must be repaired or redesigned. And finally, instead of being kept and forgotten in some drawer, the possibility of exchanging it, selling it as second-hand, renting it, donating it or ultimately handing it over for recycling is contemplated.
Textile industry, sustainable fashion and circular fashion.
The fashion industry is forced to come up with new ways of doing business. You cannot pretend to be competitive and win in the future with a model from the past. The future that we contemplate for fashion is circular. It cannot be any other way and success will not be achieved by any other means.
Right now, brands in general and sustainable fashion brands are working on new strategies and disruptive models to become more circular as a company. This generates a lot of enthusiasm in the industry and provides the opportunity to be much more creative. Today, the fashion system is linear, so it needs a radical transformation: we need to work together, as an industry with high levels of commitment and innovation, and challenge the status quo.
We need to evolve not only to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment but to go further and make a positive impact. That goal is only possible if we work together. It is a rigorous reinvention of the typical production process into a virtuous cycle. It is not only about using sustainable materials to create sustainable clothing collections, but also about working with different specialized organizations, which have specific objectives and play an active role. It is a new and different way of operating and processing. The goal is to achieve a production cycle rather than a production line.
Circular fashion must banish two mythical arguments.
There are two long-standing arguments that challenge circular fashion: the first one sees circular fashion only as a means or an accelerator to the process of recycling products once they have been used, and the second is that a decline in fast fashion sales will be detrimental to companies, the idea being that if we buy less, sales will plummet and jobs will be lost in the sector.
The first argument can be quickly dismissed: recycling is only one of the many components of the new system; there are several other processes, alternatives and predecessors that define a garment as truly circular.
As for the second myth, what actually happens depends on how companies and industry adapt and when they take their first actions. It is very clear that the sooner the better, not only to optimize their adaptation process but also to start generating value through the new system.
The fashion industry is forced to devise new ways of doing business in a world naturally limited in time, space and resource availability. As the circular economy framework suggests, we must focus on creating valuable services rather than short-term products and remember that meeting the needs of the present should never compromise resources and the satisfaction of the needs of future generations.
I encourage you to be part and parcel of this change together – let’s take fashion to the next level of circularity!
Articles on the textile industry and circular fashion.
To conclude this post, given the incredible influence that sustainability and circularity are having on the fashion industry, we list all the articles on circular fashion and sustainable fashion. At the end of each article you can download for free the most relevant reports on the textile industry and the global fashion sector from the leading international consulting firms – McKinsey – Deloitte – Nielsen – Global Fashion Agenda – Circular Fashion – Fashion Revolution – Boston Consulting Group – SAC – others:
Closing the loop | The Circular Fashion System Commitment 2020 | Circular fashion is circular design | Circular fashion is collection of used clothes | Circular fashion is resale of used clothes | Circular fashion is textile recycling | Fashion Transparency Index 2019 | The pulse of the fashion industry 2019 | Circular fashion | The biological technology of circular fashion | The physical technology of circular fashion | The digital technology of circular fashion | G7 Fashion Pact