- Advertisement -
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Home Sustainable Fashion Fashion circularity needs alliance outside of industry

Fashion circularity needs alliance outside of industry

In the past to ensure a circular economy in fashion, there existed many barriers. But with time, with increasing awareness and resources than ever, and a textile and apparel recycling market valued at $350 billion, fashion circularity is growing increasingly within reach.

During a recent Kingpins24 panel, denim experts dedicated to expand the circular economy and discussed the ways in which circularity has evolved, and what it will take to grow it further.

Fashion-Circularity -Collaboration
Figure: During a recent Kingpins24 panel, denim experts dedicated to expand the circular economy and discussed the ways in which circularity has evolved

Marcel Imaizumi, a director at Vicunha, a textile producer in Brazil said, “In the past, I thought that if we announced that we use recycled content in our fabric, people would think that was [lower quality].”

“But today, that concept actually adds value to our product.”

Vicunha’s Absolut Eco collection made in partnership with Adriano Goldschmied was created using pre-consumer denim fabric that reduces water consumption by 95 percent and removes 90 percent of the chemicals used in a typical production cycle. But in order to effect real change, according to Imaizumi, more companies need to come together to make products like this.

“What’s the sense of creating a sustainable fabric if, in the process, it’s washed in a laundry that doesn’t monitor chemical and water usage?” Imaizumi added.

Imaizumi stated that the main remaining obstacle to growing circularity is transparency, adding that “there is an education mission ahead of us” that doesn’t just extend to consumers, but spans the entire industry.

And according to Jean Hegedus, Director of Sustainability at The Lycra Company, it’s not just the fashion industry that needs to own responsibility for the shift to circularity. There are other sectors involved, including waste. And ownership is a big question.

“Is it the responsibility of the brands to take back used garments, or is it the responsibility of the waste industry, or is it some sort of collaboration between the two?”

Hegedus posed the idea of “downcycling” versus “upcycling,” referencing the concept of turning denim scraps into housing insulation, as featured in projects such as Blue Jeans Go Green. Since inception in 2006, the project has set records for the number of clothing items collected for recycling. In 2013, it collected its one millionth piece of denim.

Though controversial—critics feel uncomfortable with the idea of shredding denim that could have otherwise been repaired and reworn—programs like this can actually provide a longer-term solution.

“If clothing is collected, and it’s made into insulation for buildings, and it sits in that building for 30, 50 or 70 years, in some cases that may be a better alternative than trying to put it back into a garment that might end up in landfill sooner,” she said. “There are a lot of big industry issues that that we have to come together on.”

While some continue to debate which industries should bear the responsibility of textile recycling, many agree that it shouldn’t be placed solely the consumer. Susan Lawrence, vice president of sales and marketing North America at Artistic Fabric Mills, explained that a lack of information—or worse, an uptick in misinformation supplied by companies guilty of greenwashing—can breed confusion and make matters worse. By shifting the burden away from the consumer and onto the industry, it pushes circular items into the market and provides fewer opportunities for consumers to purchase an unsustainable product.

“The industry is focusing on marketing stories instead of real circular innovation, and this is confusing the end consumer,” she said. “Ultimately, the end consumer will buy what is presented to them. What if we just sold 100 percent sustainable denim?”

Related News

Functional Fashion Issue 04 week 10

 Download now  

Boohoo launches first pop-up shop in London to showcase new arrivals

Fashion retailer Boohoo has announced the opening of its very first pop-up store in Central London on Great Portland Street. The store opened on March...

Sweden and Indian researchers create new technology to purify tainted water

Researchers from Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur in India and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have created a new technique that quickly...

NC State separates mixed cotton from polyester by using enzymes in US

A team at North Carolina State University (NC State) has developed an enzyme-based method for separating mixed cotton and polyester fabric in the US....

H&M donates books and dressmaker mannequins to CIEOSH and BUFT

H&M Group, a multinational clothing giant, contributed books and dressmaker mannequins to the BGMEA Centre of Innovation, Efficiency and Occupational Safety and Health (CIEOSH)...

More like this

Functional Fashion Issue 04 week 10

0
 Download now  
Boohoo launches first pop-up shop in London to showcase new arrivals

Boohoo launches first pop-up shop in London to showcase new arrivals

0
Fashion retailer Boohoo has announced the opening of its very first pop-up store in Central London on Great Portland Street. The store opened on March...
Sweden and Indian researchers create new technology to purify tainted water

Sweden and Indian researchers create new technology to purify tainted water

0
Researchers from Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur in India and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have created a new technique that quickly...
Blended cotton polyester

NC State separates mixed cotton from polyester by using enzymes in US

0
A team at North Carolina State University (NC State) has developed an enzyme-based method for separating mixed cotton and polyester fabric in the US....
H&M donates books and dressmaker mannequins to CIEOSH and BUFT

H&M donates books and dressmaker mannequins to CIEOSH and BUFT

0
H&M Group, a multinational clothing giant, contributed books and dressmaker mannequins to the BGMEA Centre of Innovation, Efficiency and Occupational Safety and Health (CIEOSH)...
- Advertisement -