Circular Fashion Is Going To Be Huge In 2022 — Here’s What It Means For Sustainable Clothes

It’s the kind of mundane shopping experience we’ve all had, with a twist. Thanks to a small chip attached to each garment, the fashion brand now knows that two dresses have been tried on, but not purchased. It may be trivial for the consumer, but it is invaluable for the designer.

“What we are able to do is tell retailers which items are doing the best, which are doing the worst, and how they could market their store to improve performance,” chip maker Simon Molnar (brother of Afterpay founder Nick Molnar) said Marie Claire Australia.

“Knowing what is being sold is as valuable as knowing what is not being sold. We can tell a dealer, this has been tried a lot but is not being bought, there must be something wrong with the fit.

Photo: provided

Right now, the chip is being tested in an Afterpay pop-up shop in Chatswood Chase in Sydney called the Edit Collection, launched in partnership with the Australian Fashion Council. But Molnar has high hopes. Could its technology go global and revolutionize sustainable fashion, in the same way that Afterpay blew up the market buy now, pay later?

‘The future is to want less fashion’

Fashion is a mesmerizing and horribly wasteful industry. (As a Sydney-based stylist once told me: “I am amazed by designers who actually try to make fashion sustainable, because fundamentally it isn’t.”) The average Australian dumps 23kg of clothes into landfills every year. Still, we have to wear clothes. We want those clothes to look good. And eventually, those clothes wear out. So what does it give?

The answer is a circular economy, which goes a lot (a lot) beyond donating old clothes to charity shops and avoiding fast fashion. Circular fashion is completely breaking the old “make, use, dispose” model, turning it into a “do carefully, use as long as possible and recycle at the end” model. It is not a greenwashing marketing campaign; it is a fundamental rethinking of how fashion can exist within a capitalist society.

“It’s not very fashionable to want less fashion,” said Anna Plunkett of Romance Was Born Marie Claire Australia. “But I think it’s the future. It must be.”

Plunkett and his co-founder Luke Sales, who were recently named Designer of the Year at the Australian Fashion Laureate Awards 2021, have managed to keep Romance Was Born sustainable thanks to its smaller size, as well as the use of recycled materials and fibers. natural “as far as possible”. However, the designer said it was difficult to take the time to push their sustainability forward with such a small team.

the love story was born

Photo: Romance / Instagram was born

“We know there are ways we can improve it if we have more time and money,” he said.

“Larger companies are able to invest in people who only focus on sustainability. It sounds like such a luxury, but for those bigger brands it is necessary, as their footprint is so much bigger ”.

In fact, bigger brands like The Iconic are already entering the resale economy, which is expected to double over the next five years to a value of $ 77 billion. It recently partnered with circular economy service provider AirRobe to provide shoppers with a platform to resell, rent, or recycle their pre-loved items – a bold move for any retailer.

For smaller designers, however, one solution is to rely on the knowledge of their peers. Plunkett pointed to KITX’s Kit Willow as a mentor in this space, describing her as “an amazing soundboard” for any questions.

As for Willow, she launched KITX in 2015 with sustainability woven into her DNA. “We have not ‘become’ a sustainable brand,” he said Marie Claire Australia. “We wouldn’t exist if we weren’t.”

future from the waste laboratory

Photo: supplied.

Every KITX garment, right down to the care label, is designed to ensure it breaks down if discarded, rather than adding to a growing pile of landfills. And if customers fall out of love with their pieces, they have the option to bring them home via KITXCHANGE.

Willow is also curating a fashion circular pop-up in Melbourne’s Hanover House. Called the Future From Waste LAB, it offers a space for leading designers (including Romance Was Born) to transform the clothes used on site into a capsule collection, which are then available for purchase by the public. The goal is both to transform the way clothes are made, sold and used, and to educate: did you know that only 7% of clothes sold in Australia are classified as recycled? Now you do it.

In fact, Willow’s recycled denim is available online, right now. But what about those of us who can’t afford to buy sustainable, ethically sourced fashion, which often retails for a higher price than the average on the highways? There is also the problem of plus size fashion, which has long been ignored by high-end designers, but has been curated by fast fashion brands.

It depends on the intent behind your purchase, Australian Fashion Council interim CEO Kellie Hush said. Marie Claire Australia.

“Don’t buy it with the intention of wearing it once and throwing it away,” he said. “You can’t expect everyone to invest $ 600 in a dress. But when you buy something, keep wearing it ”.

Main photo: Future From Waste LAB / Furnished.

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