| 29 shopassociation.org
Waste is so last season.
Although many fast-fashion brands
perpetuate wasteful manufacturing
practices, mindful consumers are
pushing fashion brands to create a
new aesthetic around recycling.
Recycling and repurposing clothing
Cutting from the same cloth
can cut the environmental impact of the
fashion industry, according to Busch
Systems. To close the loop, manufactur-
ers and designers must reconsider the
lifespan of clothing and the processes
by which they make them. From organic
material, air-dying clothes, digital print-
ing, water filtration, and global standards,
the industry is beginning to make signifi-
cant inroads to closing the clothes loop.
More than 1 million tons of textiles
are thrown away every year in the U.K.
alone, according to The Ethical Fashion
Forum. At least half of the textiles we
discard are recyclable, but only 25%
of textile waste is reused or recycled
annually in the U.K.
With consumers considering environ-
mental consciousness in their purchase
decisions, companies are asking whether
their raw materials can be reappropri-
ated, creating a closed-loop system
where a company’s new clothes are
made from their previous ranges,
according to a Huffington Post article.
“It’s a challenge that is not for the
faint hearted. The technological develop-
ment will be expensive, but the achieve-
ment will be significant for the bottom
line,” notes Edward Lowe in the Huff-
Post article. “It will end fashion compa-
nies’ profitability being at the mercy of
raw commodity price fluctuations.”
Other factors are pushing the trend
toward a fresh look at recycling in fashion:
• Fast-fashion brands are enabling
consumers to participate in the recycling
• Marketing campaigns encourage
consumers to be mindful of the lifespan
and durability of their garments.
• Retail spaces and services are taking
a transparent approach to closing the
loop on fashion manufacturing.
Getting the market sewn up
Brands that meet the challenge will
gain a competitive edge among an
increasingly passionate eco-conscious
consumer base of every age. Here are
a few strategies to consider:
1. Fashion retailers need to take an
active approach to sustainability. Provide
customers with a recycling service.
2. Transparency is paramount. Consumers expect retailers to tell the whole
story about their recycling processes.
3. Recycling doesn’t have to be boring.
Adopting a fresh aesthetic will appeal to
4. Make sustainability an easy choice.
Truthful campaigns about the benefits
of holding onto or restyling old garments
will drive new attitudes.
This article is excerpted from the Shop!
Quarterly Trend Report, with content
from our partner LS:N Global, a source
dedicated to identifying and analyzing
macro- and micro-consumer trends.
Members may access the report at