One day, I looked in my wardrobe and I was overwhelmed by the large amount of clothes I never wear staring back at me. Some of these items I had only worn a few times so why put them to waste? Every year I go through my clothes and pick out anything that I think I could upcycle into a new unique item (I’m no seamstress but I do my best!) and anything else, I give to charity or pass on to my friends. This is just a small example of circular fashion.
If you’re bored of your old wardrobe, this is for you!
What is Circular Fashion?
Circular fashion is a concept aimed at minimising waste and the amount of clothes that go to landfill by making more sustainable clothing that is designed with the intention to be returned back into the biosphere when no longer being used.
Circular fashion means that once the item of clothing has been used it is then recycled into another product or sold on to someone else, which creates the circulatory concept of the lifestyle of the garments. This type of economy is based on the principals that materials are sustainable and kept in use instead of becoming waste and polluting our atmosphere.
“To thrive in the future, we need a fashion industry made up of three elements. Business models that keep clothes in use for longer like sharing, swapping, rental, repair and resale. Materials that are safe and renewable so our clothes do not release microfibres that pollute our oceans and making them does not destroy local ecosystems. Solutions so used clothes are deigned into new, designing and making clothes so materials can be used again and again. It’s a new ambition for a fashion industry where clothes never become waste.” Ellen Macarthur Foundation
The idea of take, make, and dispose has been traditionally used in society as a result of the Industrial Revolution. The introduction of mass production meant that the manufacturing of products was completed as quickly as possible to meet demand but this caused irreversible effects on the planet. Now, circular fashion is being introduced to minimise this idea and recycle our materials.
Brands making a difference
A brand that is on a mission to reshape fashion consumption and implement circulatory concept is Depop. Depop is an online market place with 15 million users worldwide. It was originally made for users to buy and sell clothes and other accessories but now, it is also used to set up online stores for small businesses and brands.
The site introduced a two-year sustainable fashion plan in which it states to “help reshape fashion consumption by developing and promoting a culture that’s based around creativity, circularity, equity and exchange.” Fashion United
Another example of how the fashion industry is changing and circular fashion is becoming more popular is eBay. eBay first emerged in the US in 1995 before coming to the UK in 1999. It was created for users to buy and sell a vast variety of items from furniture to clothes to technology.
In the last 12 months, UK buyers has spent £187 million on preowned fashion which is a 15% increase from the last five years proving that the circular economy is growing every year. Using a website like this allows for a decrease in fast fashion and means that many garments and accessories will be recycled and go on to a new loving home once the first person is finished with it.
Vinted is just another example of an online market place in which you can sell and buy items which is creating circulatory fashion and saving the plant bit by bit and not letting clothing have one use before going to landfill and polluting the environment.
The circular economy makes fashion more engaging and interactive for consumers because people can take old pieces of clothing that someone has no use for and create a new and unique piece of clothing with it. Likewise, it allows people to upcycle their old wardrobe with clothing and materials they already own to create new items that they haven’t worn before.
This concept also supports small businesses because many people on online market places upcycle old clothing and materials to create new designs for people to buy. Often, upcycled pieces of clothing can become popular with the use of social media and become a ‘trend’ which leads to the growth of a small business as well as the growth of the circular economy.
Have you ever thought about the impact that buying from a fast fashion brands like Pretty Little Thing or Boohoo has on the environment? Most of these clothes are not sustainable but singular use.
Think about how much less the environment would be impacted if everyone was to sell or upcycle their old wardrobe. You could have new and unique fashion pieces created from old, recycled materials! And you don’t have to be an expert, just have fun!
Now, I wear a lot of clothes that have been upcycled or bought second hand and they look and feel amazing.
I still do a yearly sort of my wardrobe to make sure my clothes are being put to good use and this is my way of contributing to the circular economy and making the world a cleaner place…you should try it!