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What is Circular Fashion?

If you’re a fan of eco-friendly and sustainable fashion, chances are you might’ve already heard of the topic we’re discussing on the RAINE Clothing blog today: circular fashion. However, with the growing movement in the fashion industry to try and move away from fast fashion, and towards more sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives, it can be confusing to know exactly what all these new terms actually mean, and how to start implementing them into your clothing choices.

That’s why, today, we’re taking a closer look at exactly what circular fashion is, and how you can start incorporating it into your lifestyle!

What does the term circular fashion mean?

Originally coined by Dr. Anna Brismar in 2017, the term circular fashion is defined as referring to any ‘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 human use’. Simply put, then, this means that circular fashion is the practice of prioritising the durability, longevity, and sustainability of a garment at each stage of its production: from the design process, which should take into consideration more timeless, wearable styles, to the materials used in production, and whether the factories involved within the production of these garments are behaving sustainably within their local environments, too.

In its simplest definition, then, circular fashion is the process of creating garments or accessories within which the sustainability of the items is considered and prioritised at every step of the process.

What makes circular fashion so important?

When it comes to considering the importance of circular fashion in an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, it’s important to think about the alternatives that are currently more prevalent within the clothing industry: more traditional ‘linear fashion’ production styles. We’ve discussed in previous blog posts what exactly the problem with fast fashion is, and how it can negatively impact the environment, and it’s unfortunately these practices that are most common, still, within the fashion industry. Essentially, linear fashion models work under the presumption that a garment is designed, produced, and sold with the intention of being worn for a limited amount of time by the customer, before being disposed of; whilst there are various ways to more responsibly dispose of your clothing once you’re done with it, it’s impossible not to mention here that the majority of clothing in most parts of the world do actually end up in landfill once they’ve outlived their purpose.

What can you do to support the circular fashion movement?

If you’d like to start shopping in a way that supports a movement towards more circular fashion within the clothing industry, great! There are various ways in which you can start making the switch to shopping for more circular clothing; the first and most important of these, however, is probably also the most challenging: do your research! With so many clothing companies attempting to greenwash their brands, either by offering limited ‘eco-friendly’ ranges or making small changes in their packaging which don’t impact the root of the problem, it can be more confusing than ever to try and decide the best brands to buy from. We’d recommend checking the materials companies are using in their clothing, whether a company is paying all members of production staff a fair wage, and how the company deals with returned or unsold items, as a good place to start.

Aside from this, there are a couple of simple alternatives you can implement in your current shopping habits to help reduce the amount of linear clothing practices you’re supporting: buying less new clothing, looking after your clothing and making repairs where possible, shopping second-hand or renting your clothing are all great places to start! Check out our blog post on how to quit fast fashion if you’re looking for more ideas!

We hope you found this blog post useful, and, as always, if there’s a specific subject you’d love for us to cover on the RAINE Clothing blog, simply leave a comment below, or find us on Instagram or Facebook, and we’ll get to writing!

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