When fashion websites get more attention than websites about nature, we are doomed. And this is what happens nowadays, most people are paying more attention to their clothing than the planet they are living in.
Luckily, some people from fashion industries are paying attention to the planet too. That’s why we can have the option to choose sustainable clothing. One of those initiatives in making clothing more sustainable is by using the circular fashion method.
What is this, and how much impact can it give to this earth? In this article let’s talk about this circular fashion method.
‘Eating’ The Clothes
Most of us eat about three meals a day, and this would be incomparable with how much clothing we buy each month. However, a new data said that, although we do not consume as much as three clothes a day, we throw out so many garments in a year.
The data wrote that an average American throw out about 68 garments a year, and this amount is pretty much similar to how much they buy in exchange. People nowadays buy more clothing than the whole history of mankind recorded.
From this simple introduction, you should have noticed that clothing is one of the greatest industry in the world. Indeed, it is a multi trillion dollars industry, and it is impossible for such a big industry to contribute nothing to the nature.
A report entitled “Biodiversity Risks and Opportunities in the Apparel Sector” stated that fashion industry impacts the nature hugely. And those impacts come from many sectors in the industry. In example, cotton production contributes about 22.5% of all insecticide use and dying produces about 20% of industrial water pollutant in the world.
In short, to make this world a better place, we have to do something about this industry too. And luckily, as mentioned above, some people working on fashion industry do pay attention about it and try to reduce the impacts it may cause to the nature.
What is circular fashion? The idea of circular fashion is to reduce the waste created by thrown away garments and minimize the use of resources at the same time. In this case, reducing the amount of industrial pollutants will also take place.
The method used in this case is by applying circular economy principles to avoid linear textile system. If you are still confused about this circular and linear thingy, we understand because it is not commonly used in everyday conversation. We can explain it.
So, imagine a production process where the resources are converted into another marketable thing, like cottons to clothes. Those clothes are sold to people, and those who bought it wear it for some amount of time to make use of it.
As time goes, the clothes become less good or having its qualities reduced. In this phase, those consumers will want to put it aside and then get newer ones. Years after, the ‘less good’ clothes got thrown away by the owner.
The resources, which is cottons in this case, become nothing more than a waste. This is the linear textile system, and it happens all the time all around the world. Like we mentioned before, the circular system is working on many ways to reduce the resources consumed and waste produced in the same time.
The Circular Way
When we are talking about circular motion, what comes to our minds is a circle. The circular fashion system is not so far from that, since the point is to make the production process in a cycle where the starting point and the ending point meet.
“The Circular Fibers Initiative aims to catalyze change across the industry by creating an ambitious, fact-based vision for a new global textiles system, underpinned by circular economy principles, that has economic, environmental, and social benefits, and can operate successfully in the long term,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur, the founder of Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
How to make circular fashion system works? There are four points in concern here, the first one is by minimizing the use of harmful materials and reduce microfiber release. This can be done by aligning the industry efforts and finding innovations to create safe materials cycles.
The second one is by making the clothes produced less disposable by nature and making durability look attractive. It will give the clothes longer ‘lifeline’, which will reduce waste. And if there is any waste, then it should be recyclable.
This is the most important part of it: minimizing waste production. In circular textile system, any waste created should be recyclable. It opens up the door where textile waste is converted into new products. It gives the ‘processed cottons’ a new life without taking other cotton’s life.
What Can It Do?
The next question is, what can this circular textile thingy do in our lives? There are so many contributions that we can get from this circular process. Unlike the linear process where the system is about take-make-dispose, the new system wants to eliminate the ‘dispose’ phase.
On the other side of it, the demand for fashion items is increasing. It will keep on increasing day by day as the world population keeps growing. If we keep using the linear system, the demand for natural resources and the waste created will be enormous.
“Fashionista or not, clothes are a necessity, and one of the biggest challenges facing today’s fashion industry is how to create fashion for a growing world population while protecting our planet,” said Erik Bang, the project manager for the Global Change Award.
And to reach this stage, actually there have been several ways and innovations emerged. In example we can dissolve those cotton clothes into cotton-like materials which can be used to produce new cotton clothing. All that these innovators need is some support.
“We can see that there are a vast number of great ideas out there, but we also know that access to capital, know-how and business support is scarce. Many great ideas never get to see the light of day. With the challenge we want to find these ideas and give them the support needed to make a difference,” said Bang.