Circular fashion: what is it and why is it important?
Let's stop running around in circles: THIS is the future of fashion.
The fashion industry is cracked. This fact is no longer a mystery: it may have been ignored for a long time, but the mountains of problems it causes have become simply too high to ignore.
First, there's the issue of the carbon footprint caused by the numerous transports of textiles, which accounts for 2% of the world's greenhouse emissions. That doesn't sound so bad. Except that by 2050, if consumption trends remain the same, this percentage could well approach 26%!
There is that and then its abusive consumption of raw materials, especially water: 4% of the world's drinking water is used for the production of clothing. Because otherwise, it would be too beautiful, the fashion industry does not only consume water: it also pollutes it, because of the use of chemicals and pesticides to grow cotton fields.
Consuming water, energy, raw materials... But not only: it is also a source of waste. Fashion is becoming more and more productive, due to fast-fashion and the succession of collections in stores. The result: about 10% of the textile pieces produced are thrown away after one use. Of course, this waste has consequences on the environment: they range from carbon emissions to pollution through deforestation.
How many problems does it make, in all?
Oh yes! Way too many. That's why it is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world... A very sad record.
Now we know each other: you know that feeling sorry for ourselves while drowning in a puddle of our own tears is not like us at all. We're always looking for solutions, for a ray of sunshine in the fog, because we know there's always one somewhere and no cause is truly lost.
Put on your best glasses and get your sunscreen out: this ray of sunshine does exist for the textile industry.
It's called circular fashion.
What is circular fashion?
Circular fashion is a concept that was invented in 2014 by leading eco-responsibility experts in Sweden. This concept deliberately opposes traditional linear consumption. Linear because it leaves no deviation or return possible: when a garment is made, it will end up thrown away and destroyed.
Faced with this dead end, circular fashion comes to catch up with the end of this path and hop, forms a nice loop: it makes sure to keep materials in circulation as long as possible. This involves three major principles that we hear (with pleasure) more and more often: reduce, reuse and recycle.
It is becoming rare that we buy clothes out of necessity: fashion is becoming more and more a way of expressing our individuality.
The problem is that the rhythm of the collections tends to be so frenetic that clothes are constantly being replaced by others on the shelves, without respite. For those who want to follow the latest trends at all costs, this means buying all the time, a lot...
But also throwing away a lot. It has been calculated that at our current rate, in only 5 years, the clothing waste can reach the weight of the whole humanity... And even if we take into account the diet of your aunt Martine, it's a lot.
What to do? Move to a naturist camp? Express yourself through painting on pebbles? Not necessarily! Little by little, you have to learn to buy less regularly and to concentrate on essential pieces (those that can be worn for a long time without going out of fashion). Similarly, it will be good to adopt certain good habits to avoid having to replace your clothes prematurely: first of all, make sure of their quality when you buy them, a criterion that greatly influences the durability of the product, but also take great care of your wardrobe by minimizing the number of washes, by preferring to wash at 30° and by air-drying your clothes
A garment is not supposed to be single use. Unless it was made with a Kleenex - it's a concept but why not. According to a scientific study (see how serious we are), the principle of circular fashion that could have the most impact on the environment would be the increase in the number of times a garment is worn: this number is currently estimated at 10 per piece, which is not at all, at all enough. Depending on the quality of the garment, it can be worn between 100 and 200 times. It's time to give a little boost to our usage and get closer to this more reasonable number!
We have recently seen the return of a good old reflex that is also totally in line with the aim of multiplying usage: repairing and mending. In recent years, in our society of everything, right away, it had gradually been lost: a hole in my clothes? Garbage can. A computer that's a little too slow? Garbage can. A relationship with communication issues? Garbage can. Little by little, however, initiatives are multiplying to favor the repair of a garment to its scrap: sewing workshops, associations and repair services of all kinds, apps to connect with local seamstresses ... The initiatives are multiplying, translating an obvious desire to get out of our disposable culture and that makes us super-happy.
"I take my pile, I put it in a recycling bank for clothes and bam! You're welcome, planet".
Tututut, not so fast! It's true: recycling banks are the most obvious solution for recycling clothes. They are convenient, often close by and above all offer the possibility to put your textile back into the manufacturing circuit. However, we must underline one fact: only single-material clothing can be truly recycled. Except, with the synthetic mixtures that we are more and more used to see, it is something quite rare. In some cases, the clothes from the banks are redistributed to associations, recycled in products for other sectors than textile (wiping rags or in insulation, for example) or sent as second-hand clothes abroad... However, in 10% of the cases, the clothes are sent to open-air dumps. Not the most eco-friendly.
Alternative methods to banks are therefore not to be ruled out, especially for mixed textile pieces. Among these alternatives, you will find :
- Direct donation to associations, recycling centers or solidarity stores;
- Online resale thanks to apps thought for second-hand clothes;
- If the garment is damaged,upcycling , which consists of using the textile to create a new silhouette or re-use it differently (a shirt as a pillowcase, for example).
This is what circular fashion is all about: a set of small daily and collective efforts that, when put together, will eclipse the consequences of yesterday's unreasonable consumption.
All these initiatives are nice, but what's the point of participating in them? Why can't we just roll around in our hills of clothes without thinking about tomorrow, like we did in the 80s?
There are many GREAT reasons for this.
Circular fashion: why is it important?
We said it above: the consequences of the fashion industry are now too obvious to be ignored... But not irreparable. Circular fashion would have the incredible power to correct them one by one:
Carbon emissions will be reduced thanks to the decrease in demand, manufacturing and therefore transport of clothes;
- Carbon emissions will be reduced by reducing the demand, manufacturing and therefore transport of clothing;
- The use of recycled materials will reduce the reliance on the cultivation of virgin materials that require excessive use of chemicals and resources (water, energy);
- It will lead to a decrease in pollution and adverse effects on ecosystems through a drastic reduction of textile waste.
Let's combine all this with a quality and ecological textile design from the manufacturers and hop hop hop, we have our solution for a more sustainable consumption, less harmful for our environment.
To adhere to these changes is to embark on a one-way ticket to a more serene future. It is to grant a well deserved respect to nature and to all that it shelters. Finally, it is giving us the possibility to see our beautiful blue planet evolve over the generations and guarantee us a future at its side. That's right. A sustainable consumption will allow our grand, grand, grand, grand children to go and see Fast and Furious 186 at the cinema... And that, THAT is priceless.
And the POD, how does it contribute to this story?
Print-on-demand and circular consumption are great buddies: they work together on a lot of missions.
Starting with waste reduction: print-on-demand production is in direct opposition to stock production, which aims to manufacture in large quantities without the certainty of being able to sell everything. This kind of traditional production leads to an excessive amount of unsold products, which are often destroyed without even being used. Since print on demand allows for the individual production of each piece, this big production and waste problem is simply wiped out.
These two systems also work together to reduce carbon emissions, since Print on Demand drastically reduces transportation and its harmful consequences: fewer trips from factory to factory or from warehouse to store, and therefore fewer CO2 emissions!
For the rest, everything will depend on the print on demand platform and the quality of its catalog, which may or may not align with the objectives of circular fashion: for example, if it contains clothing made of recycled textile (like ours for example), or in mono-material in order to be recyclable (like a nice part of our products), or simply if its products are eco-designed, without pesticides and with a minimum of resources (like the overwhelming majority of our catalog)
It's funny, all these criteria remind us vaguely of someone. Even though they're super nice, hilarious, godlike and above all modest. Joking aside, you know that for TPOP these criteria are the cornerstones of the platform.
Before embarking on an activity related to the 2nd most polluting industry in the world, you might ask yourself: is it really reasonable?
We have the answer: if you do it right, it is better than reasonable. It's important. To take part in a circular fashion is to carry the vision of a healthier future for our environment. It's about stepping out of your role as a consumer-spectator who despairs to become an actor of a future that has an appeal, an actual appeal. Let's face it: the future of fashion is circular. And we are far from being the only ones to say so.
"The future of fashion is circular. It has to be."
Source: Greenpeace, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, ScienceDaily