Today’s linear “take, make, dispose” economic model is reaching its limits, and natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce, threatening the growth of the fashion industry.
A circular system restores and regenerates materials, in addition to providing opportunities to reduce environmental pressures and ease demand on natural resources while securing future supply and capturing the value of a product to the greatest extent possible.
The public is becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry. Consumers expect the industry to address issues related to production, such as extensive water usage, toxic chemicals and garments accumulating in landfills. Implementing circularity offers an opportunity to evaluate and improve current business models as much as it provides a unique opportunity to create a close relationship with consumers.
An essential part of creating a circular fashion system is to set up collection systems, integrate circular design and consider how to manage end-of-use of garments. This can happen through practices that extend usage, for example resale, or through recycling worn out garments and incorporating recycled post-consumer fibres into the production of new garments.
This toolbox is designed to support fashion brands and retailers who would like to explore circular design within their company. It highlights the role design plays in creating a circular fashion system and is aimed to redefine the life cycle of garments by looping them continuously back into the fashion system. Download it below.
Our mission at Global Fashion Agenda is to mobilise and guide the fashion industry to take bold and urgent action on sustainability. The past year challenged global structures, especially regarding necessary rapid environmental progress and the lack of secure social protection schemes: COVID-19 hit the industry unprecedently, demanding real-time actions and long-term sight. Industry players had to shift focus on job recreation and the fair distribution of risks and profits along the value chain. In addition, long-standing systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement called for racial equity and dignity for marginalised and black communities.If we fail to take coordinated action on the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change, we can expect to see increasingly common crises such as heatwaves or rising sea levels damage complex ecosystems that are vital to our future.
These systemic issues are apparent in the reality of climate change, exemplifying an intersectional environ-mental crisis that is set to produce socioeconomic impacts over the coming years, foremost affecting marginalised communities and people of colour. Fashion leaders are urged to focus their efforts on diversity, equity and inclusivity along the value chain to positively contribute to a just society and communities globally.When picturing a post-pandemic fashion industry, it is not built from scratch but inspired by existing tools and technologies that will move from ideation to reality and from pilots to wide-scale adoption.
Some shifts such as production to demand, increased product lifetime values, a less season-dependent design and product flow, textile-to-textile recycling or resale will be accelerated, while long-known best practices such as collaborative partnerships between all stakeholders in the value chain may become building blocks of business operations. Placing value-driven practices at the core of business will enhance capabilities for change management, allowing headway in the transformation of potential financial, social and environmental risks into untapped business opportunities and points of engagement with suppliers, customers and the investment community.Fashion’s leaders have to seize the opportunity to re-evaluate the lexicon of fashion. By rethinking and rebuilding, we maybe able to devise a new approach to fashion that is progressive, purposeful and people-centred, one that restores andrecovers from perturbation, creates meaningful, new jobs and ultimately increases resilience to mitigate the impact of crises in the future.Together, we must work towards a thriving industry that creates prosperity for all people and communities by working within planetary boundaries, reversing its impact on climate change and protecting biodiversity. With theFashionCEO Agenda, we call on fashion brands and retailers as well as industry players to pave the way to a just and resilient future