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Importance of Circular economy and sustainable design in fashion brand

The Covid-19 pandemic has added another issue into an already complex future. Climate change and sustainability lead the forefront of this developing future. Worldwide, businesses, governments, and individuals are revising their plans and behaviours. A new way of thinking about how we all interact together as a society is the circular economy.

It sounds good in theory, but how would the fashion world fit into it?

From Cork Element, we will try to explain to you what the ideas behind the circular economy fashion brand concept are to which we adhere.

What is the Circular Economy?

The circular economy is tackling global warming, and waste management and the scarcity of resources. Aspects as environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, renewable resources and innovation,  characterise the circular economy.  The new system is made up of 4 main pillars:

Sustainability of resources. This means the use of renewable energy, the use of recyclable, renewable, biodegradable raw materials in consecutive life cycles.

Product as a service.  The producer retains the ownership of the product, offering the client a new service.

Sharing platforms. The use of platforms where users and owners of goods can collaborate helps consumers save money and use resources as efficiently as possible.

Lifecycle extension. Design and production aiming to lengthen life cycles allow companies to repair and upgrade their products. This regenerating process is thereby preventing the waste of materials and energy.

Recovery and Recycling. New production cycles in which waste is recovered, recycled or refurbished for reuse. The model does not promote waste or focuses on profit. 

Still, the circular economy advocates re-focusing on societal benefits, aiming to move to renewable energy sources while cutting down waste products. 

How the fashion and textile industry like us can play their part

While the circular economy covers everything on the planet, the fashion and textile industries play their unique part in sustainability.

Surprisingly, international flights and maritime shipping combined contribute less to carbon emissions than the textile industry.

The global emissions (around 10%) needs to be reduced. The principles of the circular economy would go a long way towards that reduction.

What is circular fashion?

Circular fashion is the version of the circular economy applied to sustainable fashion.  Three main areas composed this version: 

Sustainable design in fashion. Before production to be made, it needs to be designed. At this point, the opportunity to make a difference to the overall process is huge. A sustainable fashion design is essential to guarantee the correct development of circular fashion

Questions such as who is the product for? 

What purpose does it serve?

How many years will it last? 

What will happen after its useful life? and 

Can it be recycled, or will it end up in a landfill?

We at Cork Element, are a circular economy fashion brand we believe that getting these things right at the start can save a lot of time, effort, and money and make things better for the environment. Circular economy fashion brand means clothes are designed to last, are made from natural materials, and recycled at the end of their lives.

Sustainable source. Sourcing textiles in a circular fashion economy means using only natural origin materials. Textile manufacturers should source and produce locally, avoiding transportation costs and supporting local producers. Moreover, the materials should be renewable and non-toxic. The goal isn’t focused on profit but rather sustainability. The cork, in our case, meets all requirements associated.

Sustainable Collaboration. A circular fashion model is that everyone must work together, or it all falls apart.

From designers to manufacturers and consumers, everyone needs to be on the same page to get the most out of clothing and reduce waste. This requires a change in the agreement, collective thinking that the future of the planet is more important than profit.

The promotion, support and collaboration is the only way for the circular fashion to triumph.