Fast fashion has become a detriment to the eco-system of the planet. With new clothing being more accessible and cheaper than ever, we as the consumer need to change our apathy into action. How can the industry tailor to our new needs? Circularity.
Every year in the U.K alone, Britons throw away an estimated 3.1 kilograms of textiles. This places us as the 4th highest textile waste producers in Europe (circular.co.uk). However, there is a possible solution to this; use of a Circular Economy.
First things first what is a Circularity? It is based off the idea of a Circular Economy. It starts with the principles and ideas that, rather than create waste, we reuse the materials made and renew the products we would once normally send to the landfill.
This can be done in multiple ways; household appliances for example, could be sent back to their manufacturer who in turn, will take them apart rebuild and refurbish them, giving them a new lease of life. It reduces landfill waste and stops finite resources being used.
In the context of the fashion industry however it can work differently. For a lot of brands it would start right at the beginning in the design process. For example, if a company was making a T-shirt, they would look at how long the garment could be worn, then place high importance on ethically-sourced materials that don’t impede on the rights of either the workers or animals.
Then after being worn, will the T-shirt be easily repairable? Or is it possible for it to be repurposed into something new? For the industry, this is their way of creating a Circular Economy within their business.
Sustainability activist and fashion designer Stella McCartney has praised the concept of Circular fashion and her and the team around her brand are aiming to push this in the industry stating; “We need to evolve from just reducing our impact to making a positive impact, but this can only happen if we all work together.” Such a iconic name in the industry being so vocally supportive could really make an impact.
Moreover, brands such as H&M are focusing their environmental push on to recyclable materials and designing their clothes to last even longer. Pushing for big name fast fashion brands such as ASOS to be more environmentally conscious is going to be an industry effort – but we can do our bit as consumers.
How to get involved?
As consumer’s there is ways we can be Circular too:
Be conscious of your purchases:
Rather than buying new, check out your local charity and vintage shops because buying second-hand means less waste and less materials used. Furthermore, avoiding fast fashion outlets means they will be more inclined to change their ways. That’s capitalism for you!
Instead of throwing out old clothes, donate them to charity. Not only will you be assisting your charity of choice, but the environmental impact of landfills will be reduced.
Get your stitch on! Use the clothing you have and make something new. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are filled with tutorials and ‘How to’ guides on making use of your old clothes. Not only is it responsible but it’s also fun.
Are your clothes really that out of fashion? Find new ways to wear what you already own, whether it’s through accessorizing or piecing them together into different outfits.
If the charity shops and vintages places don’t have exactly what you want, then don’t stress. There are plenty of brands who are beginning to take to the circular model. Online outlets such as Cucumber Clothing offer sustainable clothing at fair prices.
Try your best:
It’s almost impossible to live a completely sustainable life, but just trying and being conscious is incredibly important. You doing your bit and attempting to be more sustainable is better than not doing anything. If more people at least tried, then the impact would be enormous.
It’s time for a change to be made, and as long as the consumer shows what they want, then eventually the industry will have to change with us! Start thinking circular next time you go clothes shopping.