What is Circular Fashion and Why Is It a Trend?

Are you one of those people who buys clothes every season? We'll tell you the implications of participating in this fast fashion circuit and how you can get into circular fashion, a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative.
What is Circular Fashion and Why Is It a Trend?

Last update: 18 April, 2021

To find out what circular fashion is, let’s first review how the fashion industry has always worked.

The production of most of the clothes we keep in our closets is far from being environmentally friendly. Their manufacturing involves the extraction and dumping of non-renewable resources into production circuits, which will result in a garment that will last for one season and then be discarded.

This is what we call fast fashion, a model of excessive consumption of clothes that aren’t always necessary. These are garments that are only valid on the catwalks for a short period of time and that will fall into disuse long before their useful life is over.

According to some studies, 80 million garments are sold every year in Spain alone, while a single Spaniard throws away over 15 pounds of clothes in the same period. Given these figures – which are even more alarming if we consider all the countries in the world –  so-called circular fashion has emerged.

This is a sustainable proposal that seeks to rethink the present and future of fashion and the entire textile industry.

What does it consist of? What are its benefits?

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

What is circular fashion and what is it characterized by?

Circular fashion is part of a much more ambitious and far-reaching project we know as the “circular economy”. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation is a foundation that supports this alternative sustainable economic model, which is gaining more and more followers.

It’s based on social equality, the elimination of waste and pollution, the sustained use of products so as not to discard them, and the “regeneration of natural systems”, as their website explains.

The premise is to keep products in circulation for as long as possible by implementing the “reduce, reuse, recycle” 3R concept.

In the case of circular fashion, we’re talking about keeping garments active for as long as they have a useful life. That way, when we can no longer use them, we can return them to the environment without polluting it.

At the same time, it promotes the use of sustainable materials without causing damage to the various ecosystems.

To do this, there are five key factors:

  1. Materials that can be reusable
  2. Renewable energy
  3. Carbon management
  4. Water resource management
  5. Social justice

Finally, it encourages recycling and obtaining raw materials from garments that we can no longer use. With this, we achieve the manufacturing of other products. Then, the waste we produce doesn’t cause damage to the environment.

A woman hanging clothes on a rack, with a sewing machine in the foreground.
The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries on the planet. Circular fashion aims to reduce this negative impact through recycling and reuse practices.

You may be interested in: Metal Straws: An Alternative to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint

What are the benefits of circular fashion?

We want to highlight some of the benefits of entering the world of circular fashion. Whether economic, social, or personal, they all make a positive contribution to the health of ecosystems.

We acquire better quality garments

For a garment to be part of circular fashion, it must be designed, engineered, and produced to last much longer than conventional garments.

For this, we must take into account, above all, the raw materials and production cycles. In other words, they’re garments of exceptional quality.

We contribute to sustainable production

Even when the materials used are natural, their processing mustn’t produce pollution. Also, they must be returned and recycled without environmental damage.

Examples of these processes and materials are organic cotton, renewable energy, and so on. When we buy a garment with these characteristics, we’re investing in the future of the environment.

We can all be part of circular fashion and make our contribution to sustainable fashion.

We reduce pollution levels

Not only because we don’t throw away clothes we no longer wear, but also because these garments are made according to environmentally friendly practices, as we’ve already mentioned above.

How can I contribute?

Everyone can contribute to this cause to a greater or lesser extent. While it’s true that many wouldn’t be able to afford the costs of purchasing a garment made according to the parameters of circular fashion, there are other ways to collaborate.

For example, take a look at the following suggestions.

Upcycling or creative recycling

This is a proposal in which we recycle clothes by adding extra value. For example, using embroidery, an appliqué, a print, or lace that changes its appearance completely.

We also include in this point the act of modifying a garment. For example, turning a dress into a two-piece ensemble, or a pair of jeans into a skirt. Imagination and creativity are unlimited in this case!

If we have the opportunity to buy one of these garments, we must consider it as a long-term investment and not as a one-season purchase that we’ll later discard.

With the change of season, you can take unused clothes and donate them to charity centers. Of course, it has to be in good condition so that other people can wear them for a while longer. Many people will be happy to receive used clothes.

A woman sorting through a box of donated clothing.
As long as the clothes are in good condition, you can donate them to people in need.

Resell at fairs

This is one of the most popular ways to participate in the circular fashion circuit. All you have to do is visit used or second-hand fairs, and take your garments there to resell them or exchange them for others with the same characteristics.

You can also sell them online on platforms such as Vinted. It’s fun, easy, and a great way to give clothes a new life! In fact, this buying and selling can also be very profitable.

Circular fashion: A lifestyle

In 2014, this concept arose from the hand of Anna Brismar, consultant of the firm Green Strategy while organizing an event on sustainable fashion. Since then, entrepreneurs, as well as producers and consumers, have been called to participate in fashion with a more benevolent attitude toward mother earth.

Circular fashion shouldn’t just be a trend, but a challenge and a philosophy of life. If we all practice it, we’ll be helping the planet.

Are you in?

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