Blog by Helena McLaughlin
Fashion and Textiles are an integral part of society today, with so much being able to be said through style; the expressionism this industry provides is colossal and introduces new waves of trends each day for people to explore. But what happens when these trends die? Where do our beloved textiles go? Throughout this blog I’ll be exploring these questions.
As a Fashion/Textiles student, I frequently spend time exploring fabrics and trends to help develop my future projects and ideas; often encountering fast fashion companies as the trailblazers for most of the current fashion movements. Because of this, I want to delve into the problems that fast fashion causes and discuss how we, as a society, can help combat the fashion industry’s pollution crisis that is affecting us on a global scale, by applying circular fashion into our lifestyles.
So, what is circular fashion, and why is it so crucial to fighting the economic issues that we face? MOTIF describe on their website the meaning of circular fashion by stating, “A circular fashion industry is defined as a regenerative system in which garments are circulated for as long as their maximum value is retained, and then returned safely to the biosphere when they are no longer of use” (Motif,2019). Circular fashion helps us keep our textiles circulating for as long as possible, ultimately avoiding landfill and avoiding polluting the planet further. This means that by applying circular fashion values to our recycling habits it could potentially be the solution to the fashion crisis and help us be more aware of our consumerism practices. Rethinking how we approach fashion is a crucial step to combatting the fashion crisis and its effects on climate change. With the surge of fast fashion companies mass producing plastic-based clothing and the cost per wear of these garments being vehemently low; it’s time for us all to reconsider how we can do our part to keep our garments circulating in our lives instead of circulating in landfill. With 336 thousand tonnes of our garments ending up in household residual waste as of 2019 (Statisca,2022), and 2.93 tonnes of CO2 being released into the air due to textile production (Environmental Justice Foundation 2020); it’s clear that we need to act fast in our mission to resolve our poor fashion habits.
By making small changes to your lifestyle, circular fashion can be applied in many ways to stop waste and to help the planet. Instead of buying a new outfit for that night out, why not dawn that shirt you’ve only worn once? How about creating something new? Take your old garments and accessorise them or even sew them into something fresh! With so many tutorials online for reinventing old clothing, it’s easy to make something new out of the textiles you already own without any training or practice. Incorporating creative ways to give old textiles a new lease of life is crucial to stopping textile waste, climate change, modern slavery, and many more current issues that the fast fashion industry produces. Circular fashion is the future, and we can take part in this fashion revolution from the comfort of our own homes, and become part of something powerful, together, one pair of jeans at a time.
Pignard, Quentin. “Moving towards a Circular Fashion Economy.” Motif, Motif, 29 Apr. 2019, motif.org/news/circular-fashion-economy/.
Smith, P. “Textiles in Household Residual Waste in the UK in 2017.” Statista, 24 Jan. 2022, www.statista.com/statistics/1090053/textiles-in-household-residual-waste-in-the-uk-by-type-and-source/.
Trent, Steve. “Clothes and Climate: Is Cotton Best?” Environmental Justice Foundation, 7 Oct. 2020, ejfoundation.org/news-media/clothes-and-climate-is-cotton-best.