WHAT IS A CIRCULAR FASHION SYSTEM

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.

CIRCULAR DESIGN TOOLBOX

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.

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Learn more about Circular Design and download our toolbox.

WHAT IS A CIRCULAR FASHION SYSTEM

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.

GARMENT COLLECTION TOOLBOX

This toolbox focuses on how to increase the volume of used garments collected. While not necessarily the most relevant starting point for all signatories, nor the most important step towards creating a circular fashion system, this is an essential and simple step to take

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Jonas Eder-Hansen Chief Development & Policy Officer
"Today, only 20% of textiles are collected globally. To achieve a circular fashion system it is essential that we capture the valuable resources currently being lost. Setting up a garment collection scheme is a pragmatic step in the right direction."

Pre-feasibility Analysis of Post Industrial Textile Fiber-2-Fiber Recycling in Bangladesh

This report is authored by Reverse Resources, supported by Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) as part of the Circular Fashion Partnership. The report outlines the findings of the pre-feasibility analysis of post industrial textile fiber-2-fiber recycling in Bangladesh.

WHAT IS A CIRCULAR FASHION SYSTEM

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.

Resale

RESALE TOOLBOX

This toolbox is designed to support fashion brands and retailers who would like to explore resale strategies within their company. It highlights the role reselling plays in creating a circular fashion system and is aimed to redefine the life cycle of garments by giving them multiple lives

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Learn more about Circular Design and download our toolbox.

SCALING CIRCULARITY IN GARMENT MANUFACTURING COUNTRIES, SUCH AS BANGLADESH

This policy brief is the result of learnings from the first iteration of the Circular Fashion Partnership (CFP) project that took place in Bangladesh from October 2020 to December 2021. It presents the opportunity and importance of valorising post industrial textile waste and scaling of domestic recycling in manufacturing countries like Bangladesh and how political barriers must be addressed to create a supportive environment for investment and an effective circular infrastructure. It is intended as an informative piece, sharing recommendations for policy makers and regulators in Bangladesh and at supranational level, in particular for EU policymakers working on circular textile strategies and policies, and for industry stakeholders such as fashion brands, manufacturers and recyclers working on the same goal.

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WHAT IS A CIRCULAR FASHION SYSTEM

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.

TEXTILE RECYCLING TOOLBOX

This toolbox is a learning tool designed to support fashion brands and retailers who would like to increase the share of recycled post-consumer textile fibres in their production. In this toolbox, textile recycling refers only to the recycling of post-consumer garments and footwear into new fibres to be used for clothing or shoe production.

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Learn more about Circular Design and download our toolbox.

Benetton Group is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at Benetton Group.

The importance of a circular fashion system for Benetton Group

 

The opening sentence of Benetton Group’s manifesto is ‘Fashion is not everything’ – the company believes in more than just designing clothes, but also in a future that is sustainable, circular and regenerative.

Following this philosophy, Benetton Group has embraced different systemic initiatives aimed at a significant shift from a linear to a circular business model. It has introduced a strategy, as opposed to a single project, as it recognises that reaching this objective requires a structured approach rather than an occasional effort. The company has involved its stakeholders, instead of proceeding alone, based on the belief that all actors, from suppliers to final consumers, should contribute to make change happen.

Circularity, recycling and designing for durability are the Northern star in Benetton Group’s journey. It has adopted a strategic and pragmatic approach, leveraging on the skills and competences of its team and applying a new circular vision to its business, suppliers’ conduct and consumers’ habits. At the core of the company’s holistic strategy is its commitment to long-term sustainability.

This approach requires a shift in the way the company designs clothes – intentionally prioritising mono-material products that it finds to be more easily recyclable with the current state of technology. Regarding materials selection, Benetton has increased the recycled content of its products whilst maintaining a strong commitment towards the adoption of natural fibres.

Benetton Group’s B-long project is an investment in the durability of its products – ensuring they meet the highest quality manufacturing standard. The company engages with its consumers through B-care, an initiative aimed at teaching citizens how to take care of their clothes, so that they can last longer.

Benetton Group’s Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

Benetton Group is a partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, supporting the development of textile recycling in Bangladesh, using waste from production processes to make new products. Whilst the company recognises that key barriers exist, such as scaling suitable technologies to recycle polyfibre materials, the availability of adequate waste recycling vendors and the lack of concrete policies, Benetton Group believes that we need to start reimagining the entire production process in order to recognise the value of textile waste.

The Circular Fashion Partnership facilitates commercial and circular collaborations between textile industries, fashion brands and recycling experts in Bangladesh, with a goal to generate economic value in the country by boosting the market for recycled fibres. In 2021, some of Benetton Group’s suppliers joined the initiative and, after training, began collecting cotton production waste for subsequent re-sale and recycling.

Nicoletta Sartori Head of Sustainability, Benetton Group
"Working towards a circular fashion system is rooted in our history. Our commitment to using high-quality, mono-fibre garments has been a pillar of our strategy since the beginning of Benetton’s entrepreneurial history. In the past we were also among the first companies to test new strategies to extend a product’s life-cycle, such as a collection service for second-hand garments, back in the Nineties. Today, we apply the same philosophy to the challenges that our industry is currently facing, as proud members of the Circular Fashion Partnership."

About Benetton Group

Benetton Group is a world-renowned fashion company, present in the most important markets globally with a network of about 4000 stores. Benetton prides itself on being a responsible group that plans for the future and lives in the present, with a watchful eye to the environment, to human dignity, and to a society in transformation.

Benetton Group is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

Usha Yarns Limited is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at Usha Yarns.

The importance of a circular fashion system for Usha Yarns

 

According to Usha Yarns, circular fashion is the only way out of the complex web of resource scarcity, landfills, pollution and plastic waste in this age of increasing global prosperity and fast fashion. As the importance and acceptance of recycling grows in the fashion industry, the company finds itself very much centre stage in the think of the action.

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

For Usha Yarns, it is clear that scaling effective circular systems cannot be achieved without collaboration and alliances. Today, it recognises the desperate need for a much deeper collaboration between all stakeholders. According to the company, The Circular Fashion Partnership creates the groundwork for kickstarting and accelerating the cooperation between stakeholders in order to achieve the goals of a circular textile value chain.

Usha Yarns’ Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

As the demand for recycled textile materials grows, Usha Yarns has perfected its products and has furthermore embarked upon scaling up. It has initiated a circular partnership programme to connect with local garment producers and brands to support with the recycling and traceability of their waste.

Anurag Gupta Managing Director, Usha Yarns Limited
"We are thrilled to be part of Circular Fashion Partnership journey with immense opportunity of knowledge sharing, collaboration and learning provided to us by way of engaging with many brands and manufacturers seeking circularity solutions."

The Circular Fashion Partnership has given Usha Yarns a platform to network with brands, manufacturers and solution providers to collaborate and work together in a global space to overcome the challenges of transitioning to a circular economy.

About Usha Yarns

Usha Yarns Limited has a legacy of more than two decades in learning, developing and producing recycled textiles. Today, the company has three spinning plants in operation spread across 20 acres within the proximity of Chandigarh. The plants are modern and equipped with the best recycling technology driven by trusted brands like Rieter, Truetzschler, Oerlikon and Schlafhorst. The company has a monthly capacity to produce more than 1,000 tonnes of regenerated yarns in different solid and mélange colours, certified by Global Recycling Standards (GRS). The products are thoroughly examined on each quality parameter of global standards to ensure the complete satisfaction of customers. The company is an emerging brand in circular textiles, known for offering unique values like 100 per cent recycled content, big lot sizes, traceability, no colour variations and fine quality for both hosiery and woven applications which sets it apart from competitors

 

Usha Yarns is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

C&A is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the Circular Fashion Partnership has made an impact at C&A.

The importance of a circular fashion system for C&A

 

C&A’s vision is one of a restorative circular economy where nothing is wasted in the creation or disposal of clothing. The company believes that a circular fashion system presents an opportunity for the industry to re-invent itself and right its wrongs: using materials that are safe, renewable and restorative, focusing on physical and emotional product durability and ultimately closing the loop on textile-to-textile recycling. For C&A, a circular fashion system presents the opportunity to eliminate the concept of waste entirely.

Martha Willis Senior Manager, Sustainable Materials and Circular Innovation, C&A
"At C&A, we’re committed to connecting 7/10 products to a principle of circularity by 2028, including those made from recycled materials. The Circular Fashion Partnership is enabling us to establish a flow of high-quality recycled materials in our products and giving us the opportunity to collaborate across the supply chain to tackle barriers that still exist in circular systems."

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

The team at C&A understand that a circular flow of materials is a key principle of the circular economy, yet they recognise significant technical barriers that exist in textile-to-textile recycling. In turn the company believes that we need investment in innovative solutions to accelerate recycling processes that preserve fibre quality, alongside establishing transparent high-quality waste flows. For C&A, policy is an important lever here, to present the concept of waste as a valuable resource and to support the development of infrastructure for the trading and recycling of waste.

Moreover, the company has identified the urgent need for mindset shifts in order to transition away from embedded industry practices that don’t support a circular economy. For C&A, increased collaboration and transparency along the entire value chain is a must.

C&A’s Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

By 2028, C&A is committed to connecting 7 out of 10 of its products to principles of circularity. Alongside circular product design and new business models, a key pillar of this goal is to focus on scaling high quality recycled materials within its supply chain. During the first phase of the Circular Fashion Partnership, C&A piloted the Reverse Resources platform with key suppliers in Bangladesh to trace clipping waste from garment manufacturing to recycling partners. The company is now in the second phase of the Circular Fashion Partnership, where it has scaled its programme of garment manufacturers, using the Reverse Resources platform to trace their waste.

The Circular Fashion Partnership has allowed C&A to test the hypothesis of a circular material loop, within a localised system. On one hand, it has demonstrated how the organisation can establish a transparent supply of high-quality post-industrial waste into C&A products. On the other hand, it has highlighted to the company the barriers and complexity – even in a localised system – that still exist within the industry to closing the material loop. C&A recognises that without further cross-sectoral collaboration, carving the way to a circular economy will not be possible.

About C&A

With over 1,300 stores in 17 European countries and more than 25,000 employees, C&A is one of Europe’s leading fashion retailers. Every day, C&A welcomes about two million visitors to its stores in Europe and offers quality fashion at affordable prices for the whole family. For further information, please visit our website: https://www.c-and-a.com

 

C&A is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

BESTSELLER is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at BESTSELLER.

The importance of a circular fashion system for BESTSELLER

BESTSELLER believes that transitioning to circular fashion systems presents enormous potential for the company to lower its impact and become less dependent on virgin resources. This will require replacing the traditional linear model of take-make-waste with circular solutions that safeguard the world’s finite resources and eliminate waste. To be able to grow as an organisation, BESTSELLER recognises the need to rely more on circular fashion systems in the future to decouple turnover from its overall impact.

The BESTSELLER Sustainability Report 2021 outlines its ambitions to scale its circular systems, with the goal to phase out single use virgin plastic wherever possible by 2025. Its business model will be based on design principles that prioritise efficiency and the reuse of resources at every level, from fibres to water and chemicals to post-consumer, in order to minimise waste and keep resources in use.

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

Based on learnings from the Circular Fashion Partnership, BESTSELLER identified that the key barrier to scaling effective circular systems in Bangladesh is the informal waste system. The company identifies that this needs to be addressed to complement its efforts and recognises the need to work together as an industry to build an infrastructure for pre-consumer waste which is inclusive of all stakeholders in the supply chain, without neglecting anyone. The purpose of this would be to make the supply chain more transparent and ensure that waste goes back into new products.

BESTSELLER’S Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

As part of the Circular Fashion Partnership, BESTSELLER has been – and still is – engaging with suppliers and recyclers to increase the use of pre-consumer waste – making sure that it ends up in new products. Together BESTSELLER wants to increase the mix of materials currently being used for recycling. Today, it identifies a high focus on only 100 percent cotton waste but wants to challenge the status quo and find a lasting destination for mixed materials as well.

Additionally, BESTSELLER – together with the manufacturers – makes sure that there are clear business incentives for the segregation and sorting of waste and supports the work to engage with the informal sector within circular fashion systems in Bangladesh.

Alexander Granberg Sustainability Project Specialist, BESTSELLER
"The Circular Fashion Partnership has been a perfect example of showing that when we as an industry join forces, agreeing on one agenda, we can drive real change. It’s clear that we need to collaborate on practical matters, and we believe that the potential within CFP is huge. We’re excited to take it to the next level."

About BESTSELLER

BESTSELLER is an international family-owned fashion company with a strong foundation. The company has more than 18,000 dedicated employees globally and  provides fashion clothing and accessories for all ages, genders and occasions.

BESTSELLER’s ultimate ambition is to bring ‘Fashion FWD’ until it is climate positive, fair for all and circular by design, and sees collaboration as the key to finding solutions and making lasting changes. With sustainability as a prerequisite for ongoing business success, BESTSELLER is investing in innovation and working in partnerships across the value chain.

For more information, visit bestseller.com

BESTSELLER is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

Peak Performance is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at Peak Performance.

The importance of a circular fashion system for Peak Performance

 

Peak Performance recognises the inflection point the fashion industry finds itself at – a pivotal moment of re-evaluation on how resources and products are considered. For the organisation, wasting finite materials is no longer an option – neither for people nor for the planet, and it acknowledges that the only way to stay within the planetary boundaries is to shift towards circularity.

The brands Sustainability Performance Report 2021 reiterated its devotion to reaching 100% circular product by 2030. Transitioning to a circular fashion system gives Peak Performance the opportunity to keep doing business without relying on nature to pay the price for it. The team at Peak Performance understand the complexity of this transition and the effort that is needed from growers, manufacturers, designers, end users, and everyone who is directly and indirectly involved in the process. They believe that the only way to succeed in this shift is by working together and educating everyone, including the end-user.

Sara Molnar Brand President, Peak Performance
" We need to think like one organism – evaluate every cell of the supply chain without forgetting our promise to the end consumer to make products that last and reimagine a healthy thriving fashion system."

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

When we spoke to Peak Performance, they outlined three key barriers to scaling effective circular systems that must be addressed to complement their efforts:

  1. Transparency

For the brand, full supply chain transparency is key, both to understand the challenges but also to be able to communicate to and educate the end consumers. To address this, there needs to be a mindset shift around the value of resources and how we use them by implementing circular design practices within the product development process.

  1. Collaboration

The brand recognises that the research gap is still rather big, but that it will play a crucial role in the future. Accordingly, Peak Performance recognises that collaboration within the industry is imperative to push the limits of technological innovation. That’s precisely why it invests in projects like the Circular Fashion Partnership which provide a platform for sharing successes and mistakes and supporting each other.

  1. Waste handling

Handling, collecting and sorting post-consumer waste is another part of the challenge. However, this opens opportunities for new business models, which is something the brand will continue to explore going forward.

 

Peak Performance’s Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

Peak Performance has been a part of our Circular Fashion Partnership alongside various fibre recyclers and over 20 other brands sharing the passion of innovation, creativity, and new solutions. The result for Peak Performance was a t-shirt using around half of fibre-to-fibre recycled cotton – a great achievement in increasing the usage of circular materials. This is just the beginning as the brand seeks to continue this work.

Peak Performance will stay on as a Supporting Partner and is looking forward to the extension of program to Vietnam where a pre-feasibility study on synthetic material post-production waste has just been completed. Peak Performance believes synthetics are a massive part of the industry and has a goal to enable people to stay active, making this an exciting project with important findings for them.

The brand is delighted to be able to show progress in this field as it believes this is the future. Having some of its suppliers onboard to strengthen its collaboration and move forward together is something the organisation is proud of. Peak Performance testified just how much inspiration projects like this give its long-term partners and suppliers, as well as its own teams within the organisation. For the brand, this is a business opportunity with expansion in the right direction for the future.

About Peak Performance

Founded in 1986, Peak Performance was born out of a vision for stylish, functional, durable, timeless and high-quality skiwear. Now the brand is a frontrunner in designing innovative products for both a dynamic city life and outdoor activities such as skiing, running and golf.

 

Peak Performance is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

As Director of Primark Cares, Lynne Walker is responsible for transforming Primark Cares from a label to a value, leading a dedicated team and working closely with multiple others across the business to accelerate Primark’s decade-long sustainability journey.

Walker has held several senior positions at Primark and prior to her current role was Menswear Trading Director for seven years. Before joining Primark, Walker was with Next Retail for 16 years.

We recently onboarded Primark as a brand to our Circular Fashion Partnership, we asked Lynne Walker, Director of Primark Cares, five questions to find out more:

What inspired you to make a difference in the apparel industry?

“Primark has always been about making great fashion affordable for everyone. We’re proud of this and of how much we have grown. But we know our low prices can’t come at a high cost to the planet. Our challenge with this is that making more sustainable choices typically means higher price tags; we are determined to overcome this and make those choices available at a price that is still affordable for everyone.

Because of our size, we can have a big impact with every change we make – whether it’s committing that 100% of our cotton will be sustainably sourced, organic or recycled, working with our suppliers to halve carbon emissions, or working to pursue a living wage for the people who make our clothes. We’ve been quietly working to become a more sustainable and ethical business for the past 10 years. Today one in four of all the clothes we sell now come from our Primark Cares range of products made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials.

For the last 18 months a team across Primark has been working on developing a set of far-reaching commitments which mark a significant acceleration in the pace and scale of change, requiring us to think differently about how we do business, right from how our clothes are designed and manufactured, through to how we sell them in stores. Our ambition is to offer customers the affordable prices they know and love us for, but with products that are made in a way that is better for the planet and the people who make them.”

Can you tell us more about how Primark has helped to drive sustainability in the apparel industry?

“We have been working towards becoming a more sustainable and ethical business for more than a decade and have already come a long way: our sustainable cotton programme, established in 2013 is the biggest of its kind in the fashion industry and 25% of all our clothes sold today come under our Primark Cares label of clothes made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials.

The use of more sustainable materials is one way to reduce our scope 3 emissions, which is why our Sustainable Cotton Programme is so important. Since beginning it in 2013, we have worked with agricultural experts and local implementing partners to train farmers in more sustainable farming methods, using less water and less chemicals, whilst improving the crop yield and profits for farmers.

The programme is now established in India, Pakistan and has trained over 140,000 farmers to date in more sustainable farming practices, with 20,000 more planned by the end of next year. We introduced the first more sustainably sourced cotton from the programme into our products in 2017, starting with women’s pyjamas, and have since expanded to include t-shirts, denim, towels, bedding and babywear. In 2020 our products made with more sustainable cotton increased to over 60 million items.

Additionally, our work to become a more sustainable business also includes working through third party initiatives such as the United Nations’ Fashion Charter, which we joined in 2020, and Textiles 2030, the WRAP initiative to accelerate the fashion and textile industry’s move towards circularity and system change in the UK, which we joined in 2021. Primark continues to expand its Primark Cares label – clothing and other products which are made using more sustainable materials or manufacturing methods which now account for more than a quarter of all clothing sales.

We have a global team of over 130 experts in ethical trade and environmental sustainability, based in our key sourcing countries and working directly with our supply chain, internal colleagues and industry experts, to drive better social and more sustainable practices.”

What do you believe are the most critical challenges that we need to overcome to implement a circular fashion system?

“There is commitment from the industry to increase the use of recycled content in our materials. To achieve this, we need to work together to enable the infrastructure to sort and recycle textile waste. There has been significant development in textile recycling technologies in the last few years to recycle blended fibre fabrics, which we need to support to bring these to scale. That is an important part of the picture when it comes to circularity.

Committing to circularity will also demand big changes to the way we design and make our clothes. We will need to use materials that are recycled or more sustainably sourced. Circular design will also mean stopping some of our current design practices and starting some new ones: jeans might now be designed with removable buttons, for example or metal rivets could be replaced with stitches.

At Primark, this means our clothes will comply with our new enhanced Durability Standard. We must stop providing hangers to customers automatically because they may end up in bins and landfill. And we will stop using fossil fuels in our own operations and use only renewable energy. None of these are easy changes but they are the right ones.”

How do you think the Circular Fashion Partnership can make an impact in Bangladesh?

“In our industry, we know we cannot tackle social and environmental issues in isolation to bring about industry-wide sustainable change and to create a circular system will require collaboration with partners across the industry like the Global Fashion Agenda and Reverse Resources, who are critical in creating systemic change that is needed to truly create change and impact. Our manufacturers in Bangladesh will learn how to segregate their textile waste and get the most value from that waste before connecting with recyclers who can turn that waste into new textiles.”

What does an ideal future for circular fashion look like to you?

“In the future there will be no such thing as waste. ‘Waste’ will be classified as a valuable resource.”

 

Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership HERE.

Mostafiz Uddin is quite the phenomenon of the fashion industry. As the Managing Director of Denim Expert Ltd (2009) and Founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) (2016), Mostafiz is a visionary entrepreneur who owns a niche, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible compliant garment manufacturing plant in Bangladesh. He is contributing to the development of a transparent and sustainable apparel ecosystem, both regarding social conditions for his employees and material wise. With a natural charm and strong work ethic, he is considered to be a game changer and sees the introduction of sustainable practices, innovations and fashion disruptions as keys to the future of fashion.

Even though Mostafiz is a selfless promoter of responsible business, transparency and circularity in the global apparel industry, he received Honourable Mention in the Economic Forum’s ‘Excellence in Sustainability’ category, November 2020. He is also a strong supporter of the recently launched Circular Fashion Partnership, so we asked him four quick questions:

 

What inspired you to make a difference in the apparel industry?

“I believe to bring change the best way is to set example. So, this belief inspired me to a make difference in the apparel industry. I tried to establish my factory Denim Expert Limited as a model of practicing sustainability. I also as an individual put my best efforts to bring positive changes in Bangladesh apparel industry.”

 

Can you tell us more about how you have helped to drive sustainability in the apparel industry?

“Practicing sustainability knowledge is very important. From my organization Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) I have launched several annual initiatives such as Bangladesh Denim Expo, Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF), Bangladesh Fashionology Summit etc to equip the country’s apparel industry with the knowledge to drive sustainability. The initiatives are also making the bridge between the apparel manufacturers, buyers, policy makers of the country and experts to accelerate the momentum of sustainability.”

 

What do you believe are the most critical challenges that we need to overcome to implement a circular fashion system?

“The fashion’s supply chain now follows traditional linear manufacturing system. They do have any proper demonstration of circular business yet. So, a massive capacity development is required to make the shift towards circularity. As circularity is something which cannot be inspired and encouraged through compliance, buyers could offer incentives to manufacturers to encourage practising the circularity. The incentives could be in the forms of good price or their commitments of placing good orders for longer period of time. However, we the manufacturers should also embrace circularity not only for the global demand of circular products is increasing, but also for being responsible in our business by ourselves. Manufacturers should not always wait for buyers’ intervention rather they should be also proactive in promoting circularity.”

 

How do you think the Circular Fashion Partnership can make an impact in Bangladesh?

“Of course. The Circular Fashion Partnership is the first of its kind in Bangladesh. To my knowledge, this is for the first time such a partnership has been formed to promote circularity in Bangladesh which is the 2nd largest apparel exporting country in the world. So, I believe that it will have also a big impact on the global fashion industry. I congratulate and thank P4G, Global Fashion Agenda, BGMEA, Reverse Resources, Bestseller, OVS and all the parties involved for launching the partnership.”

 

READ MORE about the Circular Fashion Partnership.