What is the “life” of fashion? The life of a fashion garment? How was it made and what is it made of? What will happen to it when it’s no longer on trend? Why should we even care?
All of these questions are probing new ways to think about alternative business models in sustainable fashion. Makers, buyers and researchers are exploring concepts of “circular fashion” and ways to “close the loop” in an effort to extend the lifecycle of clothing for a more sustainable world.
An Introduction To The Circular Economy
The nature of a circular economy is eco-friendly. A product is designed to last in society for as long as possible with little to no waste. It is made with minimal resources and environmentally friendly materials. When the owner is done with the product, it should be reused, rebuilt or recycled into a new product to keep it flowing through society.
Circular fashion stems from the circular economy model but with a sole focus of… fashion! Clothes, shoes, accessories, handbags. The entire lifecycle of these products is considered. Makers and designers create and source materials with purpose and intent. Products are made and transported in environmental and non-toxic ways and then marketed and sold offering reuse, repair and redesign. Finally, the product’s end life (if there is an end!) is recycled or disposed of in a planet-friendly way.
The Principles Of Circular Fashion
Circular Fashion offers fifteen ways to support circular fashion as a maker and buyer of fashion. Here are three of them:
1. Design for longevity. For makers, design your garments to last. Consider the lasting years of a garment versus spring/summer and fall/winter seasons.
2. Source and product without toxicity. For makers, firstly, source materials for your designs that are not harmful to the environment: organic, raw, biodegradable. Secondly, produce your designs without harming the environment.
3. Consider rent, loan, swap, secondhand or redesign instead of buying new. For shoppers, appreciate the value of what you buy. And before you buy new, thinking about if you can rent, swap or purchase what you need (not what you want!) secondhand.
Who Is Using The Circular Fashion Model?
MUD Jeans in the first circular fashion brand in the world aiming for a world without waste. They have pioneered a “Lease A Jeans” business model that shows how circular fashion can be put into action.
Lease A Jeans is simple: lease a pair of jeans for a year. When your year is over, send the jeans back to MUD or lease a different pair. If you choose to send the jeans back, they are recycled and reused to create new products such as sweaters or jeans. On average, one new pair of jeans takes 7, 000 liters of water to produce. Through recycling the pairs sent back and using an innovative water filtration system, MUD cuts this water usage by 78%. MUD Jeans is creating denim in circular economy fashion for the “conscious explorer”, or more appropriately, the MOCHNI.COM reader: the educated individual aware of the environmental issues in our world seeking planet-friendly brand and product alternatives.
Circular economic ways of thinking are alternative but also exciting in the world of eco-fashion. The circular fashion model allows companies and consumers to think deeply about how products in the fashion industry are made and bought in an effort for a more sustainable world.
GET YOUR ECO JEANS AT MUDJEANS.EU.
Lara is a master's student of Media and Communications at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. She splits her time between Toronto and London and is currently researching media, fashion, sustainability and slow. After interning at Fashion Takes Action, Lara took it upon herself to continue to write and inform others on fashion in eco-conscious contexts. Find Lara bidding like a pro on eBay, reading all-things-slow, or creating her latest article for her sustainable fashion blog, SLOLARA.