What is Circular Fashion?
Brismar, owner of the consultancy firm Green Strategy, coined the term ‘Circular Fashion’ in 2014.
‘It can be defined, ‘ Dr Anna Brismar details, ‘as clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced and provided with the intention to be used and circulated responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use.’
As it stands, most fashion products are made from new textiles, sold, worn, discarded and sent eventually to landfill at an estimated £140 million worth of clothing annually in the UK, or worse, they are incinerated.
How can I engage in Circular Fashion?
Heard of the saying 'reduce, reuse, recycle'?
With the rise of ‘throwaway fashion’ the current rate of growth is immense, with 114 billion items of clothing sold globally last year (approximately 15 new garments each). By buying less (reducing) and re-wearing favourite items from the back of the wardrobe (reusing), this will help slow fast fashion down, reducing overproduction and all the resulting issues. Buying less should also mean buying better and what's better than items that have already stood the test of time. While years of over-production and under-wearing is largely bad news, one perk is that there are plenty of clothes already out there looking to be re-homed. This is the recycling part. There are almost as many ways to buy pre-loved clothing as there are items to buy. Local charity shops are a great place to start, as you're killing two birds with one stone by keeping clothes from landfill and giving money to charity. They are often your cheapest option, coupled with all of the great online 2nd hand shops out there!
Other trends are the rise of fashion rental companies and circular/sustainable fashion collections. Even though these are all steps in the right direction, if you would like to be truly responsible, remember the motto ‘reduce, re-use and re-cycle’.