Circular Fashion – The Concept that could save the planet
The rise of ethical and eco-friendly brands is a trend that is becoming impossible to ignore, and a relatively new term that is being heard around the fashion industry is circular fashion. This innovative model aims to minimize waste and make the most of resources challenging fast fashions linear production line that ends with clothes being discarded by the masses.
The microfiber problem
Microfibers are a type of synthetic fibers made from tiny plastic particles, also known as Microplastics. By virtue of their small size (1/5th the diameter of a human hair), they tend to disintegrate easily whenever subjected to action, mostly during the washing process. A single wash can release up to 700,000 microfibers. This kind of pollution is omnipresent and irreversible. Even the drinking water bottles that you get from the stores already have plenty of microfibers in them, so does your tap water. The world’s reliance on synthetic materials has increased to 63%, side-lining cotton, wool, and other naturally occurring materials. Scientists have already discovered the presence of microfibers in fish, zooplankton, crabs, and other marine life. Research led by the University of Manchester found up to 1.9 million plastic pieces per square meter on the ocean floor.
The damage done is irreversible. We do not have any technology that can pull plastics out of our water sources and make them clean again. Each one of us can bring in a seesaw change. To start with, start caring for your clothes. Wash them less frequently and avoid washing them with warm or hot water. Always prefer to air-dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. Give longevity to your clothes as you repair those small rips and tears. Give your old t-shirts or jeans a second life by dying them with fresh colors.
While ‘economy’ is a significant driver to extensive use of Synthetic Clothes, they have other advantages too. Synthetic clothes are durable, stain resistant, inexpensive compared to other materials and are easier to use with a broad spectrum of colouring dyes.
Could circular fashion induce people and industry to recycle the same ‘advantageous’ clothes rather than dump them after a few uses? Read on to know more.
Turning the Tide
An alarming amount of plastic waste (including microfibers) enters oceans at a rate of 12 million tonnes every year.
Brands have started taking note of this irreversible change. They are now allowing their customers to make the right choice by offering circular fashion options. ASOS have taken the initiative to become sustainable and have included a “responsible” filter on their website in an attempt to make a difference with their circular fashion collection.
H&M instead takes the issue super seriously as they have devised a separate segment on their corporate website that only focuses on “sustainability”. A section where Circular fashion takes center stage. The brand actually recovered more than 20,000 tonnes of textiles in 2018 to re-purpose. Just imagine avoiding 103 million t-shirts to end up in landfills.
Stella McCartney is re-purposing materials they use. They have introduced the use of recycled polyester and nylon as well as increased reliance on regenerated cashmere. They have gone a step further by supporting restorative farming practices. They procure materials only from sources where regeneration of natural sources is guaranteed by suppliers.
While we may not ever be able to ‘undo’ the stress we’ve caused to this planet, it is our primary duty to make an effort and reduce it.
Circular fashion starts with you, the decision-maker. When you shop wisely, check garment labels or tags. Choose only those with minimal use of plastics or the ones who mainly support ‘Circular Fashion’. Another practical way of reducing microfiber in drainage is to load up a full tank of your washing machine instead of a half tank. This elongates the life of clothes. A full tank reduces friction among clothes and gives out less microfiber in drainage.
Choose only the apparel made with naturally-sourced fibers like cotton, rayon, viscose, bamboo, linen, silk, or wool. You may choose to get a lint filter for your washer. This is a no-brainer technique towards reducing plastic waste going to the drain. Avoid drying your synthetic clothes in the dryer. If you do, put the leftover lint into the trash for recycling. Get your washer a new friend in the form of microfiber catchers like Guppyfriend, Filtrol, or Cora Ball. They efficiently remove microfibers washing machine drain water
You may not know this, but you are the most crucial part of the buy-chain. When you demand sustainable fabrics, the brands have no choice but to listen. Take the time to read the care labels on your garments so that we are increasing the longevity of each item.
Adopting Circular Fashion into mainstream fashion apparel can disrupt the typical linear trajectory of fabric used. Re-purposing and re-wearing directly reduce the need to make new fabrics.
Gone are the days when the thought of merely recycling our household and industrial plastic waste was considered ‘enough’ to save the environment. It is high time we discovered a practical balance between convenience and sustainability. The time to switch to sustainable clothing is right now.
Always Trendin promotes the use of eco-friendly fabrics with their ethical manufacturing practices. We believe this is just a start to creating a better future for the fashion industry. If you’re looking to partner with a clothing manufacturer that integrates fashion trends and caring for the environment, contact our team and find out how we can work together to create a better planet.