As Ellen MacArthur Foundation says, waste and pollution do not exist by accident; they are the result of design decisions. And since design determines what we wear, we have the responsibility to choose wisely our clothes and accessories. Circular fashion products are one of the possible choices. But what exactly is a circular fashion product? To give a definition, we first need to understand what circular fashion is.
What is circular fashion?
Circular fashion is a business model in which products are designed, produced, and sold with the intention of being used and reused for as long as possible.
This new model is totally different from the traditional one, which is linear and based on 3 steps: Take-Make-Waste. In other words, companies take raw materials, transform them into finished products, and shoppers, sooner or later, throw them away. This model not only consumes a lot of resources but also produces pollution and waste along the way. Is it sustainable? Of course, not. On the other hand, in the circular fashion model, materials and resources are retained and returned back into the process. The goal is to close the loop of clothing production by eliminating waste and pollution.
The characteristics of circular products
In general, a circular product has at least these three main characteristics. It is:
- Designed to last: it is made with high-quality materials and it is made to be used and reused multiple times.
- Repairable and upgradable: it can be repaired or upgraded instead of being thrown away when it breaks or goes out of style.
- Made from recycled or renewable materials: it is made with resources that can be reused over and over again or can be easily recycled or composted.
Some examples of circular fashion products are:
- T-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles,
- Jeans made from organic cotton,
- Shoes made from recycled old shoes,
- Bags made from recycled leather,
- Jewels made from recycled glass.
However, even such products can be used and then thrown away. And this is where brand commitment comes into play. In fact, brands can do much more than produce clothes, bags, shoes, or jewellery more sustainably. They can give life to circular fashion initiatives, such as repair services, rental services, collection of items that consumers no longer want, and resale through the second-hand market. The goal is to extend the life of their products for as long as possible, and make sure the products are then returned and regenerated back into new products.