DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION
Green Strategy’s Anna Brismar has developed the following definition of (more) sustainable fashion:
Sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components. From an environmental perspective, the aim should be to minimize any undesirable environmental effect of the product’s life cycle by: (a) ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources (water, energy, land, soil, animals, plants, biodiversity, ecosystems, etc); (b) selecting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc) at every stage, and (c) maximizing repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components. From a socio-economic perspective, all stakeholders should work to improve present working conditions for workers on the field, in the factories, transportation chain, and stores, by aligning with good ethics, best practice and international codes of conduct. In addition, fashion companies should contribute to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, caring and washing practices, and overall attitudes to fashion.
Source: The definition was first published on the Green Strategy’s website in June 2014, and is also available here.
SEVEN FORMS OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION
The figure Seven forms of sustainable fashion was developed by Dr. Anna Brismar as a conceptual tool for visualizing the many different ways in which sustainable fashion can be expressed. Seven main forms of (more) sustainable fashion were identified: “On Demand & Custom Made”, “Green & Clean”, “High Quality & Timeless Design”, “Fair & Ethical”, “Repair, Redesign & Upcycle”, “Rent, Loan & Swap” and “Secondhand & Vintage”.
When we learn about “sustainable fashion”, we soon realize that there are many forms of (more) sustainable fashion. Some actors and individuals emphasize the importance of making clothes in a more environmentally friendly manner (here “Green & Clean”, while others advocate secondhand/vintage or underline the benefits of swapping, leasing or borrowing clothes as opposed to purchasing newly produced. All strategies that promote more environmentally, socially and ethically conscious production and consumption are important steps towards a more sustainable fashion industry.
Source: The concept was originally developed in 2012 and updated in autumn 2016. See here for more.
CIRCULAR FASHION WEBSITE
The Circular Fashion website is an online platform launched in 2015 to promote a more circular and sustainable fashion industry on a global scale. The website is developed and maintained by Green Strategy.
The circularfashion.com website aims to spread awareness and promote dialogue around the concept, principles and best practices of circular fashion, and ultimately to encourage advancements at all levels for a more circular and sustainable fashion industry. (Source: circularfashion.com).
The image of the logo has been developed with several connotations, as described in this article. First and foremost, the logo relates to the key principles of circular economy as adopted to the fashion industry through the concept circular fashion.
Source: Please visit our website circularfashion.com
DEFINITION OF CIRCULAR FASHION
Anna Brismar’s interest in the concept and principles of circular economy and their implications for the fashion industry took off during 2013, after a lecture by Dame Ellen MacArthur in Stockholm. During winter/spring 2014, Anna wrote two separate articles on circularity and fashion (see e.g. here). Later that year, in June 2014, Anna coined the term “circular fashion” at a project meeting while planning for the fashion event CIRCULAR FASHION – SHOW&TALK 2014 (for which she became project leader). In autumn 2016, she proposed the following definition of the term:
Circular fashion can be defined as clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced and provided 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 use. (Dr. Anna Brismar, 2017, circularfashion.com)
Source: Please visit circularfashion.com
16 PRINCIPLES FOR MORE CIRCULAR FASHION
Sixteen key principles for a more circular fashion industry have been developed by Anna Brismar at Green Strategy as part of the Circular Fashion Framework .
The principles have been organized based on the typical lifecycle of a garment and its different phases. The first thirteen principles concern the production phase, that is the design process, sourcing phase, material production and final product manufacturing, as well as the phases of marketing and services provision, material reuse, recycling and possible composting during production. The last three principles relate to the user phase and what here needs to be considered to make the product’s entire lifecycle more circular.
Source: The 16 principles are presented in greater detail here: circularfashion.com/key-principles.
A CIRCULAR COMPASS FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY
In order to achieve a more circular approach to fashion and apparel, Green Strategy has also developed a conceptual model called “A Circular Compass for the Apparel Industry”. This framework builds on the fundamental principles of circular economy, as defined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The model is created as a clock with 12 focal points, mirroring the main life cycle phases of a product, from design, sourcing and manufacturing to use and material recycling. At each focal point, a set of key questions is defined, which relate to the associated phase. By addressing these questions preferably in the order given, companies may more effectively understand and adopt the essence of a circular approach to business. If slightly adopted, the circular compass may in fact be used for any type of manufacturing company.
Source: The model was originally published in this article from 2014.
A SEVEN STEP GUIDE TO A CIRCULAR MINDSET
This image presents seven key questions that companies may ask in order to better understand and address circularity of material flows at strategic and operational level. The questions are:
(1) What is the PURPOSE of the flow; (2) What RESOURCES are required to generate and maintain the flow?; (3) What is the THICKNESS of the flow?; (4) Who are the BENEFICIARIES of flow?; (5) What is the CONTENT of flow in terms of material type and quality?; (6) What are the direct and indirect IMPACTS of the flow; and finally (7) What is the RATE of the flow?
Source: First published on www.greenstrategy.se in June 2014 as part of this article.
INNER AND OUTER CIRCLES
This is a conceptual image illustrating how products, components and materials should ideally circulate in society, firstly in the ”inner circles” (1, 2 and 3) and lastly in the ”outer circles” (4 and 5). In other words:
Products should: (1) initially be used carefully and longterm by the first users; (2) thereafter repaired and maintained to last even longer; (3) thirdly, be shared, redistributed and reused by new users through secondhand, lease, swapping etc; (4) fourthly, be redesigned and remanufactured into new products; and lastly (5) be recycled as materials or components for the generation of new products, or return to the biosphere as nutrients for ecosystems.
Source: First published on www.greenstrategy.se in September 2016 as part of this article.