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Circularity: Fashion’s Latest Game-Changer

At ZAVI, we like staying on top of our game when it comes to the sustainability revolution because as challenging as addressing many of its concerns may be, learning about new and creative business models can be rather exciting. And this is exactly how we feel about fashion’s latest buzzword — circularity. 

Our industry currently works around a linear model of ‘make, use and dispose’ that has proven to be catastrophic for the environment. The circular economy aims at closing the linear loop by creating products that last longer and can be regenerated when no longer in use. Not to be confused with recycling alone, which is only a small part of the bigger picture. 

From a designer’s perspective, circular fashion prompts you to rethink every stage of the garment’s life span to ensure its cyclical. Right from the materials used, to the longevity of the design, production practices, waste elimination, versatility, durability, restoration opportunities and even the packaging. 

Additionally, for a consumer circularity means equal responsibility and doesn’t just end at being applauded for making a conscious choice. For the consumer, it means lengthening the use of those clothes so that less of it can end up in landfills. And when not in use anymore, rather than being binned the clothes could be given new life with restorative methods that can then be sold on re-commerce sites or donated to charities. 

The concept of circular fashion was conceived by Dr Anna Brismar, founder and owner of Green Strategy, a consultancy firm that specialises in circularity and sustainability issues of the fashion, apparel and textile industry on a global scale. Organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are committed to promoting circular economy practices with initiatives and programmes that invite designers to join forces with them. 

While seemingly complex, the idea of attaining a circular economy isn’t impractical. If anything, the concept has brought the once lacklustre concepts of renting fashion to the glamorous forefront with services like The RealReal and the Vestiaire Collective who are leading the pack in the business of pre-owned luxury goods. With models like refurbishing fashion and swap shops slowly growing, it won’t take long for the fashion industry to completely deviate from its linear ecosystem to a fully circular one. 

 

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2019-12-23

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