What is a circular economy?
Although the fashion industry is familiar with the concepts of upcycling, eco-responsibility and circular economy, it is sometimes difficult to grasp their definition as well as the challenges and commitments they imply. The purpose of a circular economy, as compared to a linear economic model, is to consistently reuse and recycle all products in a closed-loop to bring back their value as materials. According to ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, “Circular economy aims at leading to a new paradigm in comparison to a more traditional linear economic model, which would be achieved by avoiding wasting resources, as well as limiting the environmental impact and increasing efficiency of the product economy at all stages.” In the fashion and luxury-good industries, a circular economy consists in inventing new ways of producing, consuming, and using waste in order to create an ethical loop system. Everyone involved will act in their own way at various stages of the product’s life cycle, for instance by choosing sustainable eco-friendly fabrics, revamping or recycling deadstocks, by delivering parcels by bicycle as well as taking charge of recycling the product at the end of its life.
The three main aspects of a circular economy are:
- Reducing waste and pollution
- Constantly reusing materials and products in a loop-shaped system
- Restoring ecosystems
How is the circular economy currently developed in the fashion industry?
There are many ways to tend towards a more eco-friendly fashion industry, one of them being circular economy. (maillage: Pourquoi le fait d’utiliser des tissus de luxe déstockés s’inscrit dans une démarche éco-responsable ou durable ?) Since the beginning of 2022, the French Anti-Waste Law for a Circular Economy (AGEC) aims at lowering the environmental and social impact of fashion. This legislation is causing tremendous change in production processes as well as consumer behaviour. Circular economy can be applied to all stages of the product's life cycle and is directed towards all stakeholders in the clothing industry. It is based on 7 principles divided into 3 areas: