Fashion + The Circular Economy

Is Circular Fashion the Way Forward?

Circular fashion is becoming a common term in the fashion world, meaning that the cycle of fashion should have no waste products. It is believed that every use of fabric should be reused/recycled in any way possible, making sure that nothing is being thrown away. It’s becoming a highly respected and important phrase.

Eco-Age stated that; “A report by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that extending the average life of garments by just nine months can reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of UK clothing by 20-30%”. This is why the circular economy in the fashion industry is so important.  

Since circular fashion is growing popularity, it’s important to know exactly what it’s about and it’s just as important to shop responsibly.

What is the difference between fast and circular?

Fast fashion is the complete opposite to circular fashion. It is, not made to last, clothing that is mass produced for the latest trends, only to be sold for a cheap or inexpensive price. 

Brands that support fast fashion always strive to have the most basic working conditions for their employees and also tend to pay poorly, so it’s not just about the materials being wasted. Yes, the materials are also cheap and basic – just like the working conditions. 

Compared to circular fashion, fast fashion is harming the globe like nothing else. With brands trying to keep up with the latest trend, they are left unbothered by the way they are damaging the environment with waste materials.

In the UK the number of fast fashion brands are growing and there is no sign of them slowing down. Some popular brands to steer clear of are Boohoo, H&M, and New Look. If you wish to find out more about fast fashion and the brands who support it, there’s a full list here.

Remember to shop responsibly!

When online shopping, or even shopping in person, you must be aware of what you are buying and which brand you are buying it from. The rise of circular fashion brands is growing just as quickly as fast fashion brands, purely because this generation generally holds more interest in saving the planet.

The English fashion designer, Stella McCartney, famously told Harper’s Bazaar; “The future of fashion is circular. It has to be.” She is right, it is the way forward and is fast becoming the safest way for us to shop.

She added that; “By 2025 the clothing waste accumulated between now and then will weigh as much as today’s world population.” That figure is terrifying and that’s why something should be done now, whether that means you change where you clothes shop, or you start selling your own things when you have outgrown them. 

Sustainability is one of the most important parts of circular fashion as the whole concept is for the material to exist forever. This also means that if there does come a time when the material can no longer be used then it has to be disposed of correctly. Common Objective touched upon this when looking into circular fashion, stating that; “A circular model also considers end-of-life stage” which is not always thought of when thinking about circular fashion. 

With circular fashion on the rise, it’s going to become easier to support it by buying from trusted outlets. There are already several places that are selling sustainable fashion such as MUD Jeans and Stella McCartney. Other brands are slowly cottoning on to the growing popularity of the circular economy and have started up vintage sectors. Urban Outfitters have now got their own vintage section with old reworked clothes and online boutique Rydel also has a vintage section reselling second-hand clothing items. 

Second-hand shopping is a turning point for the industry.

As talked about above with more and more people turning to circular fashion making it grow expeditiously, the fashion sector is having to keep up making sure their clothes are sustainably sourced. Mainly online, there are now a number of different outlets that allow you to buy second-hand or sell your own items due to the increasing demand for second-hand items. 

Depop is a prime example of this, quickly becoming one of the most favoured sites for millennials and Gen Z shoppers to sell and buy second-hand items. In 2019, the site had 13 million users according to Tech Crunch, and there is no doubt that this number will continue to grow.

Depop allows users to sell their own items as well as buy second-hand items off other users, promoting sustainable fashion rather than buying brand new. CEO of the company, Maria Raga, told Tech Crunch that the aim of Depop was to “redefine the fashion industry” as the concern of waste in the industry is growing. 

There’s also the option of shopping second-hand by popping into your local charity shop. Charity shops are on the rise and are becoming ever more popular with determined thrifters and lovers of vintage wear. Eco-Age reported that; “When it was announced non-essential retail could open following the Covid-19 pandemic, the term ‘charity shop near me’ was searched on Google +188% compared to June the previous year” as conscious and second-hand consumerism continues to grow.

You must research brands before buying from them!

It is becoming more important than ever to make sure you do extra research into each brand you buy from so you are aware of their policies and what they stand for. If they are a fast fashion brand, it might be better to stop shopping there sooner rather than later, if you want to do your bit for the environment. 

Circular fashion is highly important and is on the up, which can only be a good thing for the industry. It means that we’ll all be saving the planet and also looking good while doing it!

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