Circular fashion, like circular economy, aims to reduce waste production, trying to create a circularity in the use of materials, reusing them and keeping them in the market as long as possible. When a piece of clothing or an accessory is no longer used, it should not end its life cycle by being thrown away as waste, but should be sold as second-hand clothing or recycled.
In order to follow this goal, the fashion industry should take into account two fundamental concepts in the production of clothes: creating designs that last a long time and using materials made with the goal of being recycled. The list of actions that the fashion industry could take in order to reduce the pollution that it brings is a long one, we are not only talking about more durable designs and materials that are ecologically sustainable, but also the treatments that are applied on the materials used, the transport and the distribution, the packaging chosen and above all the overproduction of garments that go to create leftovers that are thrown away.
The question we should be asking ourselves now is: “What can we do as consumers?”
First of all, we must acknowledge the toxicity behind fast fashion, which is not only negative at an environmental level, but also at a social level, as it creates a craving in the consumer to follow fashion trends by compulsively buying the latest releases. The business model is based on knocking off styles from high-end fashion shows and delivering them in a short time at cheap prices, typically using lower quality materials. Fast fashion constantly offers new styles to buy, as the average number of collections released by European apparel companies per year has gone from two in 2000 to five in 2011, with, for instance, Zara offering 24 new clothing collections each year, and H&M between 12 and 16.
So what we can do as consumers is not to be lazy, but to constantly inform ourselves about the brands in which we intend to buy. It is our responsibility to know the pollution that a company produces, the amount of garments that are thrown away, where and how the waste produced by the company is processed, it is our duty to know how the workers of the brands we like are treated, what are the materials used and how the production chains are formed. All this seems difficult and complicated and often you may find yourself not knowing where to start, luckily there are online sites like https://goodonyou.eco/ that simplify our work, helping us to make a wise choice regarding our shopping.
Here is a list of alternative choices to fast fashion:
The opposite of fast fashion is obviously our first option. Slow fashion is not based on mass production, but on the creation of fewer, higher quality products that can withstand time. The philosophy includes reliance on trusted supply chains, small-scale production, traditional crafting techniques, using local materials and trans-seasonal garments. The brands considered slow fashion are not only sustainable in an ecological way, but also on an ethical level: the rights of workers are respected, and are guaranteed optimal working conditions.
In addition, more and more slow fashion companies ensure transparency regard their design and manufacturing processes. The primary goal of this type of brand is therefore to create a real relationship of trust with their consumers, who do not enter into stores without personality that offer an exorbitant number of low quality products, but are guided in choosing a unique garment in which to invest, which will last over time and that will also acquire an emotional value for them.
Here are some recommended slow fashion brands:
CLO STORIES – clostories.com
Born in 2017 in Barcelona from the creative mind of the designer and photographer Ariadna Garrido. The designing and the making of their clothes are made in Barcelona, while fabrics are sourced in Spain and Italy. The leading product of the brand is the swimwear, designed to adapt to your body and their designs are reversible, you can mix and match them to create the swimsuit of your dreams. They also collaborate with non-profit causes as @nomoreplasticco and @worldlcleanupday.
RUS – rusthebrand.com
Spanish knitwear brand created by two sisters, which is based on the movement for which fashion is not made of accumulation, but of selection, the selection of the few garments that last over time and that go to compose the wardrobe. Their goal is therefore to create garments that can be rediscovered season after season and used to create an infinity of looks layering and combining their products.
CARCEL – carcel.co
An ethical and eco-sustainable brand born in 2016. There are no seasonal collections, no sales and the number of clothes produced is very limited, this is because for Carcel it is very important not to create an overproduction of garments. The materials chosen are natural materials sourced locally in the region of production – Alpaca in Peru, silk and lyocell in Thailand. On the ethical side, women workers involved in the production of clothes are women who are serving sentences in prisons in Peru and Thailand, single mothers incarcerated for nonviolent, poverty-related crimes.
STUDIO VENTISEI – studio-ventisei.com
An online platform that showcases several pieces by different designers that, with their aesthetics and their eco-friendly approach to production, want to revolutionize the concept of fashion. Studio Ventisei is not only an e-commerce, it aims to be much more: an experimental space that explores and exploits the narrative potential of fashion itself, promoting ideas and items through stunning editorial content.
SOFTANDWET – softandwetundies.com
An Italian underwear brand designed and made by 23-year-old Alice. Its aesthetic is inspired by a world of romantic seduction and the materials used are all natural, from silk produced in Italy to 100% recycled cotton. Softandwet underwear is designed to be not only beautiful, but also comfortable and suitable for all types of body.
IINDACO – iindaco.com
Italian luxury footwear brand founded by Pamela Costantini and Domitilla Rapisardi. The idea of the two founders was to create the first luxury footwear brand based on a circular economy using luxury materials united by eco-sustainable characteristics: recycled and recyclable ABS heels, regenerated leather insoles, certified linings in biodegradable leather. In addition, their suppliers have been chosen among companies who manage to guarantee a high degree of eco-sustainability, from environmental impact to energy saving.
Vintage and second hand
This is my favorite option, because I believe that buying used and vintage can create a unique style that reflects us. This is the perfect option to boost the circular economy, buy something that has already been used and put back on the market what we used, help us to reduce waste and not to fuel the economy of disposable. We have therefore said that vintage is one of the best choices in terms of circular fashion because it helps us to eliminate waste of natural materials and resources, to enhance recycling and re-using practices, to reduce clothing waste and carbon footprint, to decrease overproduction and overconsumption, but there are also other advantages that vintage bring us.
First of all, let’s talk about style, the vintage gives us two huge possibilities: to have unique and rare pieces, which will make our style personal and inimitable, and to follow the trends, this because in recent years the major trends have been inspired by the fashion of past decades, such as the 80s, the 90s and now the 2000s. The second great opportunity is to pay a low price for high quality pieces, this is because second-hand items are always much cheaper than the products of the latest collections and, as I said before, in the past the important thing for a company was not to create a large quantity of products, but quality clothes that would last over time, since the consumer used to buy much more sporadically and preferred to buy items that would last as long as possible.
So here are 6 online sites where you can buy secondhand and vintage:
COLLECTION NO.2 – collectionno2.de
Online shop where you can find a vintage selection extremely accurate both in terms of quality of the garments and the styling with which they are presented. You can also find a lookbook selection where there are several photoshoot edited as real editorials.
VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE – vestiairecollective.com
Website where you can sell and buy second-hand goods online, famous for its selection of luxury vintage goods.
SNAKE CAKE – etsy.com/shop/snakecakevintage
Latvian vintage shop based on Etsy and founded by Jevgenija Dorosenko. The pieces chosen are not based on a vintage research of big brands, but on following a fun and loud aesthetic, made of bold prints and bright colors. The outcome is an extremely contemporary street look.
SHOP THE STORY – shopthestory.it
The vintage that offers this online shop is not like what we usually imagine, the pieces are more recent, they are part of past seasons, but they are contemporary. The selection of garments is made among the most important brands of fashion, like Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Martin Margiela, Alber Elbaz, Dries Van Noten, Prada, and more.
DEPOP – depop.com
Website and app where everyone can resell their secondhand items.
ROKIT – rokit.co.uk
One of the most well-known vintage stores in London, originating from Camden in the 1980s. It claims to be the leading secondhand shop in the UK, particularly famous for offering retro sportswear, denim and unisex clothing.
Taking an object that is about to become waste and give it a new life by modifying it. You can take old clothes and modify them, (or have them modified by a seamstress), to respect your tastes, you can retrieve a fabric from a dress that you no longer like and create something new from it. In addition to the possibility of upcycling made by us, now there is the possibility to buy from brands that create products through the upcycle, the aesthetics of these fashion brands is often lively, bold and extremely creative, upcycled clothes are aimed at those looking for an alternative, almost exclusive piece of fashion.
Meet some of these brands:
GARBAGE CORE – garbage-core.com
Project realized by Giuditta Tanzi, where all the garments made are the mixture of different parts of disused clothes found in markets, second-hand stores and wardrobes of friends and relatives. The idea is therefore to keep the soul and the history of the second-hand pieces, leaving holes and possibly ruined parts to characterize the creations of Garbage Core.
MATO – matomato.bigcartel.com
Jewelry brand specializing in earrings. Each piece is unique and unrepeatable and is made by hand from waste leather found in factories in Veneto, Italy. The products follow a fun and playful aesthetic, following curved shapes and combining bright colors with each other. In addition, if you do not have holes in your ears, you can request clip earrings!
CAMERA 60 – camera60.com
One of the essential profiles to follow if you are passionate about fashion and recycling, founded by Matteo Bastiani and Chiara Rivituso. The two designers recreate iconic bags using packaging that would otherwise be thrown away. How to forget the wonderful Dior’s Saddle created from a McDonald’s bag!
RUA CARLOTA – ruacarlota.com
London based brand founded by Charlotte Rose Kirkham that uses only pre-loved/deadstock materials. Rua Carlota is not the classic fashion brand, but has much more the flavor of a real artistic project, not for nothing was born as a personal project of the designer and only later evolved into a real fashion brand.
ROSIE EVANS – rosieevans.online
A Welsh high fantasy brand that creates sustainable corsets, working with second hand textiles and vintage found fabrics. The aesthetic is inspired by English poetry and theater, especially Shakespeare and the costumes of his plays.
MILA SULLIVAN – milasullivan.com
New York brand ready to wear founded by three former Pratt Institute graduates. The looks they created are colorful and modern, but with a touch of melancholy due to the reuse and deconstruction of old vintage garments for the creation of their clothes. Their collections are handmade and each piece is unique and unrepeatable, creating a type of fashion that is extremely far from overproduction, but which becomes almost art.