What is circular fashion?

In conversations about sustainable fashion, the term circular fashion often comes up, but what does it mean? Circular fashion has a strong connection to circular economy, or the "wear-and-throw"-society as it is also called, and therefore it is important to first find out what circular economy means.

Circular economy
Simply explained, circular economy is a synonym for a cycle. It is the opposite of linear economy, where the structure looks like this: make, buy, throw away. The very basis of circular economy is to use everything that is produced as long as possible, to then reuse and recycle as much as possible. The same applies to circular fashion.

Circular fashion
Circular fashion is about extending the life cycle of clothing as much as possible and that everything produced is made of recycled or regenerative material that can be returned to the cycle again. Circular fashion is also about reducing the climate impact that textile manufacturing entails, including waste and pollution, as well as resource efficiency in all stages of the garment's life.

Difficulties with circular fashion
In today's fast fashion society, circular fashion is unusual - and difficult to achieve. It mainly depends on these factors:

1. Because garments are made of many components, with lots of different materials that cannot be recycled together.
2. Regarding the fabric, research has just begun on how to recycle fabric with a mixture of fibers (for example, cotton and polyester).
3. It is a very expensive process to separate the components, and there is not yet a large-scale technology to recycle mixed fibers.

This is also a big part of why people don't recycle clothes and why circular fashion is a real challenge – but with really good prospects once it can be achieved. It's also one of the reasons why clothing companies and charities send their excess stock and donations to countries like Ghana and Chile where the clothes are dumped and rot in huge piles of clothes. It is therefore cheaper to dispose of surplus clothes by sending them to poor countries than to try to recycle them. But it is high time for companies to start taking responsibility and try to minimize their waste instead of trying to maximize their profit - meaning it is time for companies to start taking care of their waste instead of sending it away.

There is a company in Sweden, Siptex in Malmö, that has started recycling textiles with a mixture of fibers. Siptex stands for Swedish Innovation Platform for Textile Sorting, and they work with recycling centers to collect collected textile waste, which is then sorted by color and fiber composition using near-infrared light.

Circular Fashion & Regenerative Agriculture
It is impossible to talk about circular fashion without mentioning regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture is fundamentally about "healing" farmland using ecological methods. It is about rebuilding life in the soil, removing all the toxins that conventional agriculture has brought, increasing biodiversity, and promoting the natural circulation of carbon in the soil again. Simply put, it's about restoring soil health to its original form.

How can I extend the life of my clothes?
There are a lot of things you can do to contribute to a circular fashion climate. One way is to extend the life of your clothes. Read more about how to take care of your clothes here: Care Instructions