Faced with the problem of raw material and energy consumption in the fashion industry, the circular economy is an effective way to combat these environmental problems at the present stage. Some of the leading brands in the fashion industry are now adopting this new approach.
Redefinition of New Business Models
As one of the largest sources of pollution on the planet, the fashion industry consumes a lot of raw materials (water, cotton, fossil fuels, etc.), produce many sources of pollution (carbon dioxide, toxic substances, etc.), and generate a huge amount of waste. The problem is that the manufacturing of new products and the elimination by consumers are accelerating and many new products only stay in the store for a few weeks before they are thrown away. In Europe, 2 million tons of clothes are thrown away among which 90% ends up in the garbage disposal centers.
Under the objective of sustainable development, the linear model of production, usage, and disposal no longer meets the needs of the world today where natural resources are running low. In order to overcome the environmental challenges, the fashion industry must redefine its business model.
To this end, the circular economy provides the fashion industry with an opportunity to recycle and reuse the raw materials which in turn reduces the negative impacts on the natural environment. Put it another way, the clothes are used repeatedly until their product life-cycle comes to an end. This is a strategy generated from the reflection upon supply chain, production technology, and product design.
Sustainable Brand Leads the Way in the Fashion Industry
Walking on the path of sustainable development, some of the brands in the fashion industry choose circular methods and are now formulating action plans. Here are some of the most eye-catching examples. In 2014, Pharrell Williams and G-Star RAW transformed ocean plastic into clothes such as jeans, sweaters, T-shirts, etc., all of which were made from the fibers of ocean plastic recycled. Following this action, G-Star RAW announced in the summer of 2016 that it would use renewable polyester instead of regular polyester to make all the clothing.
Founded in 2013, Patagonia, an American company that marketed and sold outdoor clothing, was known as the circular economy pioneer with its slogan of "If it's broke, fix it!". To this end, Patagonia was dedicated to improving the recycling and reuse of its clothing as much as possible to realize this ideal.
For this, Patagonia set aside a budget to repair damaged clothes for its consumer with an average of 45,000 articles repaired each year. When clothes were so old that they were beyond repair, they were returned to the factory where they were broken down and recycled as new fibers to make new products. In 2017, an e-commerce platform was established by Patagonia to sell second-hand clothes and other new products.
Ever since 2013, H&M has launched an old clothes recycling program in its outlets around the world so that any brand of clothes can be brought to H&M and thrown into the recycling bin. As of today, H&M has recovered over 32,000 tons of clothes where clothes in good conditions were sold as second-hand clothes while clothes severely damaged were broken down and recycled as new fibers. In the autumn season of 2016, H&M launched a new series "Close The Loop" that featured denim made from recycled cotton and wool.
By taking into account the objective of sustainable development, H&M launched a global competition "Global Change Award" through H&M Foundation. Innovators from all over the world were welcomed to sign up for the competition as long as they have forward-looking ideas that make fashion more cyclical.
As we can see, Giorgio Armani and Stella McCartney were among the many circular fashion supporters in the fashion industry who chose to take the path of circular economy under the premise of fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities (Corporate Social Responsibility, also referred to as CRS, is a moral or ideological theory that focuses on whether the governments, corporations, institutions, and individuals take the responsibility to contribute to society. The scope was further expanded to include social welfare, environmental protection, employee benefit, product liability, and many other non-financial management elements). Based on the most fundamental requirements for global brand management, they used natural resources, dedicated to environmental protection, and respected their employee as a part of their supply chains and product manufacturing processes. The increasingly powerful fashion innovation movement would dramatically change the facets of the fashion industry in the days to come.
Faced with upcoming challenges, the brand must find its positioning in terms of social roles while taking serious actions so that the consumers are made aware of the manufacturing process, better able to take care of their own clothes and allow the clothes to stay in their closets for a longer period of time.
Fashion can also be very cyclical!
Information resource from Brands.
在可持續發展的道路上，一些品牌選擇了更循環的方法，並正在製定計劃。這裡有幾個引人注目的例子。2014年，歌手 Pharrell Williams 為 G-Star RAW 品牌推出了一系列產品：「回收海洋塑料」，包括牛仔褲、毛衣、T恤等，所有產品都是用海洋回收的塑廢料的纖維製成。繼此行動之後，G-Star RAW 於 2016 年夏季宣布用再生聚酯纖維替代常規聚酯來製造所有服裝。
創建於 2013 年的美國戶外運動品牌 Patagonia 巴塔哥尼亞，口號是「如果它壞了，修好它」，此品牌可說是循環經濟的先驅。其目標是盡可能將其服裝提升回收再利用的技術，並以此理念持續發展。
自2013年起，H＆M在全球門市推出舊衣回收計畫。任何品牌的服裝都可以帶到他們的門市丟置回收箱中，至今已經收回了超過32,000噸的服裝。狀況良好的衣服作為二手衣物銷售，受損嚴重的服裝將被回收利用製成新的纖維。2016年秋季，H＆M首次推出再生棉和羊毛牛仔布「Close The Loop」閉鎖型循環服飾系列。
H&M思考如何走得更遠，通過其企業基金會(H&M Foundation)，2017年推出了國際競賽「Global Change Award全球變革獎」。來自世界各地的創新者，只要有使時尚更具循環性的前瞻性想法，都可以報名參加競賽。
此外，正如我們所看到的，時尚產業內有更多的循環時尚擁戴者：Giorgio Armani和Stella McCartney以實踐企業社會責任為前提(英語：Corporate Social Responsibility，簡稱CSR，是一種道德或意識形態理論，主要討論政府、股份有限公司、機構及個人是否有責任對社會作出貢獻，範圍深廣包含社會公益、環境管理、員工照顧、產品責任...等非財務的管理要素。)正在邁向循環經濟的道路上。他們負責任地在生產共應鏈、產品製造流程上，遵從使用自然資源、致力環境保護和尊重每個員工的工作權和所處環境的原則，是品牌全球運營的基本要求。日益強大的時尚革新運動將在未來幾年，大幅改變時尚產業的面貌。
資料來源 : 各品牌