Well if not, let me tell you a little about this new phenomenon. Circular fashion is set to be the buzz word of 2021 and beyond. The phrase which was initially coined by Dr Anna Brismar of Green Strategy in 2014, is now taking the sustainability debate by storm. Sustainability has, let’s face it, probably bemused all of us at some stage or another. We know we need to do more to save the planet, reduce our carbon footprint, save energy, buy organic, buy sustainable brands, less pollution, more trees but where do you start… and if you want to subscribe to the “Green Life” that’s all really expensive isn’t it?!
What Circular fashion is now giving us is a series of practical steps you can take to do our bit for Planet Earth.
This blog is not about sustainability in general but about the impact on the fashion world so let me start with giving you some facts…
Globally, 114 billion items of clothing were bought in 2019.
Around 235 million items of clothing in the UK will end of up in landfill.
A commission by Sainsbury’s found out that three quarters of consumers bin their clothes instead of taking to a charity shop or recycling centre because they didn’t know they could!
The same study delved deeper to find out that 49% felt the items were passed their prime, 16% couldn’t find the time to go to a charity shop and 6% didn’t know it was possible to recycle garments!
Men are more likely than women to bin clothes. 82% of men compared to 69% of women
What circular fashion seeks to do is disrupt the “cradle to grave” process by re-routing the items to different places i.e., re-using, re-cycling and up-cycling. Designing products that are biodegradable or can be recreated or recycled into a further quality product so we are only working with what we have already and not creating more products that ultimately will their find their way into landfill. So if I’ve captured your attention so far, how can you do your bit to help sustainability in fashion:
Think slow fashion not fast.
The 114 billion items of clothing stated above amounts to 15 new garments each. By reducing and re-wearing items this will help reduce the need to buy new items (and it will make you feel good about what you’re doing – trust me!) If you need help or an extra boost, enlist the help of one of the great new apps around like Save Your Wardrobe. Adopting this app as my wardrobe saviour was one of my lockdown tasks of 2020. It did take some time to photograph all the items of clothing in my wardrobe (197 items of clothing!) but I now have a nifty tool at my fingertips where I can put outfits together, save them and remember when I wore the outfit to make sure I get ultimate use out of my clothes and accessories.
Buy and donate to charity shops. Help the great work these charities do whilst boosting your fashion fetish
If charity shops aren’t really your place to go for your fashion ((and I have to admit this includes me) then how about organising that ‘Shwap’ Party with your friends. After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Buy pre-loved clothes. Vintage is all the rage. Retold, At Matinee, Vintner, One Scoop Store are great places to look and wearing vintage is so on trend right now. Think Amal Clooney, Kate Moss who regularly wear vintage on the red carpet.
Mix and match your existing wardrobe. Accessorize in a different way. This is where apps such as Save your Wardrobe really come into their own. And that goes for Asian outfits aswell. Take your mum’s old saree that vintage saree with a new saree blouse or lycra top. I’ve done it and trust me, you will feel like a million dollars, not to mention happy mothers.
Rental fashion. If you have a one event affair coming up rather than spending a lot of money on one outfit that will then sit in your wardrobe for years until you have a similar event (by which time, of course, it may be out of fashion) think about renting. Rental websites to look at are Hurr, By Rotation, Cocoon (for bags), Rotaro, Girl Meets Dress and for the ‘Asianistas’, Bollywood Borrowed is a good saree rental destination.
How about selling your outfits on platforms such as Vestaire, DePop, Thrift+ (with Thrift+ your clothes also raise monies for a chosen charity). Farfetch is another platform which has launched a re-sale project where you can sell clothes on their platform which are bought from their platform and also designer fashion and bags – truly circular!
Look at fabrics, quality, materials of what you’re buying. If they are, then the chances are it will be biodegradable (for example, an unblended natural fibre like wool). If the materials and production techniques are high enough quality to be passed on to somebody else then it’s worth buying as even when you’re through with the garment, somebody else can take it from you.
If you do feel the need to buy new clothes then please think about the long view on what you’re buying. Try and buy from sustainable or ethical brands. So many high street shops are now selling clothing lines that are sustainable (and will be tagged as such). H&M, ZARA, Asos are a few of these. Selfridges have launched a new sustainability project called Planet Earth where they actively promote sustainable brands and also have a space where you can sell clothes and accessories and also rent and repair through them. For those of whose who have increased their wear of activewear in the last year (I see you, leggings), then take a look at these activewear brands who make their fashion from recycled items or eco fabrics. Asquith London is a current favourite of mine. Also check out Tala, Mandala and Picture. If you’re pining to get out of your leggings then I love Baukjen. A very cool London based brand who has become one of my favourites over the last couple of years. Maje is another current favourite too. Monsoon, Sandro, Stella McCartney also have sustainability and ethical manufacture at their heart.
According to Vivienne Westwood, we should “buy less, choose well and make it last”.
I hope I’ve given you food for thought. I’ll leave you with this thought. In order to get full use out of a piece of clothing, you should get at minimum 30 wears from it. Are you in? xox