Fabrics and the Circular Economy

Fabrics and the Circular Economy

Josie Warden Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Clothes production today is at crisis point – with between 80 to 100 billion garments manufactured each year, yet 15 million tons of used textile waste generated annually by the United States alone – the figures aren’t stacking up in favour of the planet.

Using the principles of circularity in your design process is one of the key ways to work to reduce your own waste as a brand - and simultaneously, encourage the positive degrowth of a fast globalised supply chain, to one more in control and transparent.

In this Lesson, we take you through an overview of the principles of circularity so that you can get your bearings of this complex topic, and follow with what to look for when sourcing ethical fabrics with circularity in mind.

In this Lesson you will learn:

  • What a "circular economy" is
  • The issues with the current linear model of take-make-waste
  • Why fashion and product designers should embed circularity into their practice, and how to do so from the very beginning
  • Various design models where you could use circularity in your product / service
  • How to source circular materials for a circular product
  • How to spot circularity greenwashing

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Next Lesson

  • Introduction to Ethical Dyes and Finishes

    with Stephanie Steele

    The dyeing process is one of the most polluting parts of the fashion supply chain. An estimated 17-20% of all industrial water pollution comes from fabric dyeing and treatment. When sourcing ethical fabrics, it is crucial to consider the dyes, treatments and finishes used in their production to ensure a product has as little impact as possible, particularly if toxic chemicals or water scarcity are high on your list of priorities of problems to combat.

    In this Lesson, we consider key areas of dyes and finishes to help support your sourcing of ethical fabrics. We look at both chemical and natural dyes, and the terminology, standards and certifications you should have on your radar when sourcing. The Lesson contains a compilation of previous tutorials to ensure a holistic overview of ethical dyes and finishes.