Circularity right from the sketch: a new school for fashion designers

08 Apr 2020
News type
United Kingdom

For most apparel brands and retailers, “where do we start?” is an important question on their way to circularity. In 2017, the Global Fashion Agenda provided important pointers as to where the industry should go with the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment. For some, setting these goals was just the step they needed to kick-start their transition. For many others, however, the question of how to go from here – our current, linear system – to there – a circular, zero waste textiles system – is still largely unanswered.

How can we best equip people to transform the fashion industry from the inside out? (Re)education is one promising avenue – and there is a lot to learn!

Most apparel professionals today were trained to design and produce garments with the aesthetics and end-price point rather than the end-user or end-of-life of the garment in mind. This means that what happens to a t-shirt past the point-of-sale is often out of sight and out of mind for the product team who are informing what next season’s collection will look like.

But 80% of a product's environmental impact is decided on the design table, so the sketches, whether on paper, Clo3D, or Illustrator, provide an incredible opportunity for positive impact throughout the chain.

To transition to circular design, apparel professionals need to expand their horizons and to understand the use and end-of-use phases of a garment’s lifecycle.

This article was written by Jade Wilting (Partnerships and Community Manager for the Circle Textiles Programme), Gwen Cunningham (Lead of Circle Textiles Programme) and Yasmina Lembachar (Digital Lead - Marketing and Communications) of Circle Economy for FashionUnited.