What Is Circular Fashion?
AYA | July 26, 2022
The current world population stands at 7.9 billion people. Only 200 years ago, the entire population of the world was just over one billion people. That means that the number of people on earth grew 7-fold in just two centuries.
The biggest problem that we face as the inhabitants of this beautiful planet, is the fact that though the population can grow indefinitely, there is only a finite number of resources on earth to ensure our survival. And we are very quickly burning our way through these resources.
The old adage of “keeping up with the Jones’s” has us always chasing something new, something better, something more than the person next to us. We have created the bad habit of not fixing what is broken but rather replacing it with something new. To many, it is simply unthinkable to be seen in last season’s fashion.
This is not sustainable, and we must change our habits and our behaviors. The buy-then-waste linear economy model simply does not cut it anymore and if we have any hope of the planet’s survival for future generations, we must all have the 7 Rs of sustainability running through our minds. Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Regift, Recycle.
- We need to manage the use of our resources better.
- We have to re-evaluate how we make and use our products.
- We need to be conscious of what we do with these products and materials once they are no longer of use to us.
This idea of a circular flow for production and use of materials is not a new concept and was introduced in 1966 in Kenneth E. Boulding’s essay “The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth”. His essay revolutionized and influenced much of today’s “going green” movement and elaborated on the fact that there isn’t an unlimited number of resources on earth and that we, as the human race, need to stop living in the present and start living for future generations.
Circular Economy in Fashion
The most important thing with all our products is that it comes from the earth, is harvested responsibly, and at the end of its long, happy, and productive life, goes back into the earth.
Fashion brand Stella McCartney has taken this concept of a circular economy and applied it to its design and production philosophies with the goal in mind to be the leading ethical high fashion brand.
But how does a circular economy model apply in fashion? Well, the idea is to look at the entire process, from design to eventual discard of a fashion item, and investigate the following key points:
- How durable is the item being designed?
- How long will it last?
- Is this a timeless design? In other words, how long will this item be fashionable?
Here the “Little Black Dress” comes to mind. A simple wardrobe item that every fashionable woman is encouraged to have because it is truly an item that will never go out of style.
- What materials are being used to manufacture the item?
Are these materials sourced responsibly? And perhaps most importantly, are the materials biodegradable or will they end up in some landfill polluting the earth for thousands of years to come?
- What amount of carbon footprint is being left behind?
Not only do they need to consider the pollution caused by the sourcing of the materials, but the pollution of the actual manufacturing process also must be considered.
- Are the workers making the garment being paid a fair wage?
Or are they being mass-produced in “sweat shops” with an unknown number of human rights violations?
- Once the garment can no longer be used, will the user be able to redesign it or reuse it?
The idea of clothing made from materials that can be put back into the earth, composting, and actually benefiting the soil is a fairly new concept, but one might say that is the only way forward.
Sustainable fashion made easy. At AYA, we made sure you know exactly what you wear, and where and how it was made. Learn more about our clothing. Visit www.ecoaya.com.