The circular fashion economy is similar to the old adage “reduce, reuse, recycle” but translated into how we can make that work economically, and as a benefit to our sustainable future.
Vogue Business has cited the circular fashion economy potentially could be worth upwards of $5 Trillion dollars. More brands are adapting to these changes, such as Patagonia, Stella McCartney, Beyond Retro, and even ASOS.
These are businesses that are taking their old garments, and reselling them to new buyers. Essentially eliminating that waste from the used textile industry, which in turn has hurt developing economies. This also helps prevent it from ending up in our landfills. It fulfills the necessary loop of belongings which is the core of the circular fashion industry.
So what can we do as consumers? It’s becoming easier for businesses to transition to a circular economy or at least contribute to it, though what can we do to make a difference on a smaller scale?
Educating yourself on best practices, better brands, and abstaining from our own persistent Capitalist drive to consume is a starting point. Questioning our capabilities, and where our money goes without resorting to places like Amazon is very important. The higher wealth bracket, the better you can be at deciding where you put your resources. It’s proven fact that those closer to poverty have less choices when stretching their dollar. So inevitably shopping with Amazon, Dollarama, Costco, or Walmart is oftentimes unavoidable when you have less money on hand, and you are forced to use more disposable resources for temporary gain.
Though as a whole we all can shop second hand, consignment, or with brands that source their product better through knowledge. This can be by examining materials, and where these items are made.
Talking to your friends and loved ones about how you contribute. Do you have hacks, tips, or tricks that go beyond your typical Marie Kondo “just get rid of it” mentality? Circular fashion is not about minimalism, it’s not about how much or how little you have, but how you can change the flow of the products in your household. Please bring it up in conversation, word of mouth is a great way to change how you and the people around you shop.
Physically purchasing reusable clothing through vintage, consignment, and thrift stores, mending and getting garments repaired through local tailors and cobblers, up-cycle clothing, search out online tutorials, swap clothes with others, donate clothes to reputable companies and charities, ask questions when you’re buying clothing, sell your own clothes online through apps, or places like Facebook marketplace, shop package free, take reusable bags, or paper bags with you. Use old t shirts and cotton fabric as cleaning rags in your home, or to create your own three layer face masks. Here is a small resource for what you can do to keep fashion in the loop.
Lastly, if all else fails reach out to those on Instagram, Facebook, and social media for more ideas. There are people who work in the waste industry who have Instagram accounts which can help you make conscious decisions for free.