Establishing a Baseline for the Circular Fashion Industry - Principles of the Circular Economy

Among the many great resources that establish guidelines for the Circular Economy, the Global Fashion Agenda provides a Textile Recycling Toolbox that we believe outlines a common baseline of understanding for enacting Circular Fashion business and production models.

In this article, we summarize key findings from GFA's Textile Recycling Toolbox and encourage further reading to learn how consumers, brands, and recycling partners can all work together to create a localized Circular Fashion Economy.


According to the report, there are 5 stages in the textile recycling process that are in need of further development in order for the Circular Fashion Economy to take hold: 1) Collecting, 2) Sorting based on material, color and structure, 3) Disassembling, shredding and/or dissolving, 4) Reprocessing, restoring quality, regenerating, 5) Integrating into the forward supply chain.


Key Findings for all Stakeholders:

  1. Products should be kept in use, repaired and repurposed for as long as possible.

  2. Only worn-out, end-of-life clothing and textiles with no reuse value should be recycled.

  3. Creating a Circular Fashion system requires a variety of partnerships. Partnerships between brands and consumers. Partnerships between companies. Public-Private Partnerships.


Key Findings for Brands (Product Manufacturers):

  1. Design for product longevity, repair and repurpose.

  2. Design for recyclability. Understand current recycling limitations and capabilities and phase out use of non-recyclable materials.

  3. Establish "take-back" systems of reverse logistics to reclaim products for repair, reuse, repurpose and ultimately recycling.

  4. Incorporate fiber tracking technologies (like RFID and Blockchain) into products in order to increase automation of post-consumer textile sorting.

  5. Actively source recycled textiles in order to spur growth and increase variety in the recycled textiles market.

Check back as we summarize and share a variety of incredibly important information put forth by noble nonprofits like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circle Economy, Global Fashion Agenda and others.


Tune in on November 12, at 11am PST as Karri discusses what a Circular Fashion Economy could look like in Los Angeles during the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Global DIF event, November 11-15.


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