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Pursuing Circularity in Fashion

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Many of my clothes were handed down from my older sister. Even today in my closet I find really old clothes. Until a few decades back, reusing and repairing outfits were the norm. Even after years of usage clothes or outfits never used to lose their charm. The quality of clothes made them last for years and years. But past two decades the game has changed drastically.

The fashion industry produces 100 billion garments each year and 92 million tons end up in landfills. Consumers buy 80 million new items of clothing per year, which is 400% more than what the consumption was two decades ago. According to Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Clothing is massively underutilized by consumers, either it is worn fewer times or remains unused among the loads of other clothing items in our closet. Also, less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothes. For these and many other issues, circular fashion is the solution.

Fashion to be truly sustainable has to be circular. While the first step is always to be aware of what you are buying, the second step would be to reduce waste by making sure the clothing that you own is taken care of for longevity and reused. Once the item is too old or not wearable for some reason, try to repair, redesign or recycle it.

With fast fashion, came the use-and-throw attitude. We have forgotten to reuse and repair as many times as it's needed. Our parents and grandparents have done that. Simply saying, that is what circularity is! Circular fashion is an approach to fashion that aims to create a closed-loop system for clothing production and consumption. It seeks to eliminate waste and pollution by promoting the reuse, repurposing, and recycling of clothing, as well as the use of sustainable materials and production processes.

Circular fashion brands aim to produce only as needed, provide high-quality items that last longer, promote material care, offer to repair, and provide recycle or upcycle options and thus close the loop for all the items it is producing. The circular approach makes sure that there is no waste and that the product already in the market is reused, recycled, or redesigned. Sustainable brands always try to be circular in their approach. Focusing on the kind of clothing we buy, and using those as much as we can and then recycling, upcycling, resale, or redesigning them, will make sure we all contribute towards being the solution.



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