Upcycling and The Circular Economy

Upcycling and The Circular Economy

with our industry experts

Clothes production today is at crisis point – with between 80 to 100 billion garments manufactured each year and 15 million tons of used textile waste generated each year by the United States alone – the figures aren’t stacking up in favour of the planet. Designers, responding to calls to radically overhaul the fashion system, are embracing the principles of the circular economy, but if they are to generate impactful change, we’ll all have to get on board.

In this Masterclass, we unpack the circular economy and what it means to designers and fashion brands. Starting with an introduction to its key principles, learn how circular models affect your choice of materials and waste streams, upcycling methods for sustainable design and ways to embrace recycling technologies. Through exclusive interviews jam-packed with practical tips from pioneering fashion designers and business owners, you’ll discover how they have adapted to working in closed-loop systems as a response to our current polluting and wasteful fashion economy - and how you can become part of the solution too.

In this Masterclass, you will learn:

  • Why we should recycle and upcycle textiles

    with Charlie Bradley Ross

    Recycling is one of the key principles of a circular economy, yet there have been a lot of questions raised recently about whether it is a viable alternative to the current system. In this video, I explore the damaging effects of our current, linear processes on the environment, the benefits recycling textiles and fashion can bring, and the arguments for and against recycled synthetic fabrics.

  • Introduction to the Circular Economy

    with Josie Warden

    This is a 33 minute Lesson from Josie Warden, Head of Regenerative Design at the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Josies introduces the principles of the circular economy and why, as designers, we should be engaging with its values.

  • Conscious Consumption with Oxfam, The Better Brand Consultant and Offset Warehouse

    with Charlie Bradley Ross

    It’s the age-old, chicken or the egg question for sustainable fashion: are conscious habits the responsibility of the consumer to practise or the brand to enable? In this panel discussion, three fashion experts working across the industry, share their insights into how we all play a part in driving more sustainable and ethical behaviours when buying clothes.

    From preventing us from falling prey to marketing tactics, to learning exactly what goes on behind-the-scenes when we donate our garments to Oxfam, to deciding which are the most ethical fabrics, in this video you’ll learn not only how to become a more conscious consumer yourself, but how to drive better solutions forward using your own fashion brand.

    This event was organised by Kindred, a community-driven members’ club based in Hammersmith, to mark World Environment Day 2019.

  • The Second-Hand Clothing Market and How to Incorporate Upcycled Textiles Into Your Business, with Oxfam

    with Elen Newcombe-Ling

    Have you ever wondered how you can begin to incorporate second-hand textiles into your business? Or wondered where all the clothes that get donated to charity shops actually go? 

    In this video, we chat to Elen Newcombe-Ling, Private Sector Partnerships Manager at Oxfam GB, about the second-hand clothing industry. We discover how Oxfam processes all their textile donations, the positive social and environmental impacts of the second-hand market, and how to start to incorporate second-hand textiles into your design business.



Technical Tutorials

Past Events

Ellen MacArthur Foundation's report into the circular economy: A New Textiles Economy

National Geographic Circular Economy Forum 2020 Recap

Interview with co-founder of Elvis and Kresse

Follow on Masterclasses:

Recycled Fabrics: The Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts

Extending The Life of Textiles and Clothing

The Design Process: From Design To Product

Additional Reading