A New Era in Fashion – Sustainable, Circular, And Ethical

In an era when passing fads have become the lingua franca, sustainability is arguably the buzziest word that’s echoing in the entire fashion sphere. In fact, web searches for “Sustainable Fashion” have increased by 66 percent since 2018, according to Lyst.

Entrepreneur’s recent report comes as a breath of fresh air amidst the chaos of unethical business practices we witnessed a few years back. “ The organic segment to become the fastest-growing segment of the market going forward with a compound annual growth rate of 16.2%.” You would expect women’s fashion to lead the ethical journey toward a better future, however, looking ahead, the men's segment is expected to be the fastest-growing with a compound annual growth rate of 10.2% as mentioned by The Business Wire.

It’s safe to say that the future of sustainability looks pleasantly bright.

So why do consumers decide to swap their immediate need for self-satisfaction through fast fashion purchases with eco-friendly options?  The answer lies in the benefits of circular fashion, which, despite its seemingly high cost, reigns supreme as opposed to the terrifying impact of the fast fashion industry.

The tremendous impact of fast fashion

The term “fast fashion” was first used in the 1990s  by The New York Times to describe Zara’s mission to “take only 15 days for a garment to go from the design stage to being sold in stores.” The sole purpose? To produce and offer as many trendy pieces as possible to consumers to wear and throw away within a year. In reality, the 5-dollar t-shirt that’s available on the top fast fashion retail comes with a very short lifespan, hence the need to constantly replace the garments that show obvious signs of wear and tear within the first 6 months of wearing them.

Circular, compassionate, and conscious fashion, on the other hand, puts all the emphasis on the ethical lifecycle of a garment.

What is circular fashion? 

Anna Brismar,PhD, owner, senior sustainability consultant,  developed the idea of circular fashion based on the module of circular economy. According to Brismar’s 2017 definition,  circular fashion refers to clothes, shoes, or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced, and distributed with the intention to be used and circulate responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use.

In a nutshell, the purpose of circular fashion is to reuse the resources that are already available in the fashion industry in order to be kinder to the environment. In other words, the focus is on the longevity and life cycle of our possessions, including designing out waste and pollution. The end goal? To minimize waste in production but to also promote the idea of buying less. From the beginning stages of a garment's lifecycle up to the time that it reaches the consumers, should lead back to its longevity and sustainability.

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