Across the world, more and more people are trying to live a sustainable lifestyle and societies are become more environmentally-friendly. As a result, we’re hearing more about concepts such as linear and circular economies. A linear economy is the prevailing “take-make-waste” approach that is still dominant today. On the other hand, a circular economy encourages the reuse-reduce-recycle approach.

Since the fashion industry represents a huge chunk of global carbon emissions, circular fashion can play a vital role in making the world a better place for future generations.

What is Circular Fashion? 

Circular fashion describes the fashion industry’s role in the circular economy. The concept is simple: your old and unwanted clothes may be rubbish to you. However, these same pieces could be used as a raw material, staying in an endless loop between reuse, reproduction as a raw material, and creating a new product. 

Sustainable production, clothes swapping, clothes rentals, repairs, vintage shopping, upcycling, and recycling are the major ingredients of the mindful approach to circular fashion. The concept is based on a cradle-to-cradle philosophy, where regenerative design is the key. The focus is not on the original made garments, but rather on easy-to-deconstruct components and materials.

In simple terms, the philosophy of circular fashion revolves around discouraging the use of blended plastics or fibres. This is because it’s virtually impossible to separate these components for reuse after the product’s life is over.

For a fashion product to be circular, you should be able to easily separate out all of the individual materials. These separated components can then serve a new purpose or become a part of another product. This approach aims to reduce the use of new resources by reusing all available existing resources.

There are various credible brands already setting the example for sustainable circular fashion with amazing products that exemplify the concept, along with ethical and environmentally-friendly processes.

Why Should I Support Circular Fashion? 

Some fashion products have lifecycles that are full of waste. You ultimately dispose  of these pieces, often after little use or without using them at all. A low-quality garment may become unfit to wear after just 30 wash cycles. If we toss these pieces in the trash, they end up in landfill, where they can stay for hundreds of years. 

On the other hand, the global population is on the rise and the coming generations will need more land to support increasing populations and grow enough food. Managing water reserves will also be a huge challenge in coming decades. 

The manufacturing of a single cotton T-shirt consumes over 2500 liters of water! Growing more cotton requires more land, which we get through destroying natural habitats. Waterways are polluted with toxic dyes and chemicals through clothing production processes.

Future predictions, if we stick to linear fashion, are frightening. In response, many people are looking at circular fashion as the alternative. 

How to Contribute to the Circular Fashion Revolution? 

You do not need to make major lifestyle changes or a significant financial investment to shift to circular fashion. Here are a few things you can start doing today to contribute to the circular fashion revolution.

Buy Sustainable Products 

Avoid buying linear fashion products that are hard to reuse or recycle. Go for environmentally-friendly, sustainable alternatives instead. This could include buying from brands who use recycled raw materials and sustainable production processes. Another option is buying vintage or second-hand clothing. You’ll find plenty of classic designs that never go out of fashion. 

Buy Less 

Why purchase a new piece of clothing or a new pair of shoes every month? This makes 12 dresses and pairs of shoes every year. Let’s say you buyi a new dress, jacket, sweater, or pair of shoes every month for five years. This comes to a total of 60 fashion pieces. How many of these do you wear regularly?

For most people, the answer would be 10, or a maximum of 20 pieces. And even then, it’s probably more than you need. 

Wouldn’t it be better to have a few high-quality, durable and sustainable pieces that you wear all the time and last for years? This will not only save money in the long run, but by buying less, you’ll be minimizing your impact on the environment. Additionally, you’ll find it easy to recycle the few items you throw away. 

Shop Local 

Circular fashion is also about buying local products whenever possible. Buying local will save you money and allow you to support businesses in your community.   Additionally, buying local fashion makes it easier to get products repaired if needed.  It’s much easier to repair a jacket or replace its buttons if it was made locally. 

Moreover, locally-made products are easier to recycle, since manufacturers are often interested in buying back old materials and recycling them as raw materials to make new products. 

Final Thoughts 

Growing populations and reducing resources will put the planet under enormous strain in the coming decades. Therefore, it’s important to be responsible and care for the environment and its resources. One effective way to do this is by being a conscious consumer and supporting circular fashion.