Can a Circular Economy work for Fashion?

Take. Make. Dispose. Thats how fast fashion works. But the circular economy model aims to change that by closing the loop and creating a zero-waste fashion industry. H&M shows us how.

In simple terms, the circular economy is about recycling. So yes, it most certainly can work for fashion! In the UK alone over 350,000 tonnes of apparel go to landfill each year, when in fact the majority of that of that could be recycled, up cycled, donated or reused. According to WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme), around 30% of our clothing hasn’t been worn in over a year, and the cost of this unused clothing is around £30billion.

But as well as changing consumer attitudes to how we dispose of clothing, to be sustainable, the circular economy model has to be integrated from the very beginning of the design and production process. From creating biodegradable clothes by utilising natural textiles and minimising chemical use in dyeing and finishing, to marketing a new way of consumption and disposal to consumers, and most importantly, producing quality, timeless clothing made to last, so people won't want to dispose of them at all.

The new H&M campaign, Bring it On, promotes their 'close the loop' project, where customers can bring in their old clothes to a H&M store to be sustainably recycled, and receive a voucher in return. Everybody wins, especially the environment.

For more info about creating a more sustainable fashion industry, visit

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Ruth MacGilp is an Edinburgh based blogger, and an activist for all things ethical in the fashion industry, as well as supporting the #shopsmall and #shoplocal movements through her work.
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