If Circular fashion is centered on the reuse and recycling of all materials, elimination of waste and pollution, and environmental regeneration, its economy has the potentiality to reach US$5trillion, according to a new report.
The ‘Circular Fashion Report 2020 — Year Zero’ compiled by a group of industry and academics including PwC, sustainable consultancy Anthesis, Rödl & Partner law firm, Startupbootcamp, ESSEC Business School, Wageningen University & Research, and circular fashion blockchain provider Lablaco, argues for a product-centric, rather than consumer-centric approach and notes the importance of adopting digital processes.
The report says, will make fashion traceable, transparent and more sustainable for businesses, consumers and the environment.
The textile industry depend on mostly non-renewable resources with yearly 98m tons oil to manufacture synthetic fibres, fertilisers to grow cotton and chemicals to produce dye and finish fibres and textiles.
Whereas, in a circular economy, waste and pollution are designed out of products and materials are kept in use and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs.
A circular fashion industry could be worth US$2.3bn more than it is currently ($3bn) in its “traditional, disconnected, linear” form, says the report.
Apparel industry will more and more see increasing investment in rental and resale business models enabled by digital technologies, and it can offer encouraging chances to increase revenue streams per garment, and attract customers who have become increasingly environmentally and cost-conscious.
Combined with clothing collection, sorting, and recycling infrastructure, greater value circulation and effective use of resources can be achieved, which would help lower the industry’s burden on virgin resource consumption.
Digitising the fashion sector, i.e.: introducing robotic automation production and AR/VR technology, will reduce inventory volume, and marketing promotion waste.
It also agrees for transparency and traceability and optimization of available resources, facilitation of the reuse of materials, authentication of products and ensures fair and sustainable trade. The report also calls for the wider adoption of renewable and regenerative materials, renewable manufacturing and processing and end-of-life reinvention.
In addition, the authors state products should be designed to last, to be reused, recycled, or upcycled and call upon businesses to empower users with the necessary knowledge, tools, and services to maintain the physical and emotional appeal of products through resale, rental, swap, borrow, donate, share, repair, recycle and upcycle opportunities.
For businesses, the report urges reuse through digital products including the creation or utilisation of digital versions of products to minimize the use and transfer of physical products while facilitating the sales process of physical products with more efficiency.