Fashion full circle

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A lot of what fashion does in the present world has everything to do with not just trends and therefore with the aesthetics but also with the conscience. As concerns about the world and the environment slipping away into the murky leanings of fate underlines virtually every life situation there has emerged to be, it sure is calming to the awareness that we have come to realise the responsibility of our bearing for the environment. While this extension of the influence that we can exert on the planet of our being is indeed something that has come to prevail through all aspects of existence, it perhaps is quite hearty a fact that even in the domains of something as abrasive as fashion, that which priorities the show of style as extravagantly and as pompously as possible, this very consciousness has come to manifest the realms of it in all significance and essence.

Trashion for instance is one such breakout fashion concept that which derives from our age old tendency to pursue further the conservational instincts. A part of the bandwagon of sustainable fashion though also in some parts an incorporation of other environmental considerations, trashion however is only one segment of the pie. With related but different concepts of slow fashion and ethical fashion and green fashion and similar forms of adaptive fashion coming to the fore in recent times, what however is certain is that the world of the sartorial has come to be increasingly conscientious of what it brings all of us to. Indeed, letting your style spell out your identity as subtly or as prominently as you want it to is what fashion has come to do today in its ever widening realms of the awareness. Persisting though therefore as a vista that caters to the visual aspect of perception, fashion is increasingly emerging also as a stance rooted in principles. And another such newly perpetuating concept that fashion has come to embrace in its visibly diverse realm today is what has gained prominence as circular fashion.

circular fashion model
Source: Wix.com

Defining every fashion concept that works on the grounds of harbouring a better world by means of adhering to sustainable practices is overlapping in essentially their similaristic essence. Circular fashion is no different, though as a derivative of the circular economic model, it can be somewhat easier to grasp the concept of it. With the concept of circular economy aimed at minimising waste and making the most of resources, the off shoot of this notion makes also circular fashion a regime rooted in such considerations that take after the reusability of products and materials composing the fashion scene.

Necessarily therefore, clothes stemming through circular fashion are produced at their highest value and are designed to never end up as waste. What is crucial here in the understanding of this revolutionary fashion concept is what it ends up as. Perpetuating its essence on such premises that the concept of zero waste is adhered to, circular fashion therefore reveals itself as environment centric to the core. But how can a piece of clothing, just like everything else, not end up someday as even a worn out scrap of waste?

The answer might reveal circular fashion to be a concept misleading in its proclamation. But going by the greater idea upon which it is based, this rooting of fashion in the circular model indeed is far more novel a concept than what its less than optimum ‘exploitation’ indicates. Circular fashion is concerned with such fashion elements of clothing and accessories that are sourced as well as produced and designed with the end view to serve their purpose for as long as possible. This extraction of the most out of such products of circular fashion is sought to be achieved through their efficient utilisation and also through orderly circulation as long as they are worthy of the value they are designed to yield. Made also with minimal resources and organic materials sourced through sustainable practices that therefore enable these products to be taken apart after use so that each of its components can be reused, rebuilt, or recycled into a new product, circular fashion products indeed will wear out someday like every matter and material but even in their end they are harbouring of the essence of sustainability in that it is possible to dispose them off in environment friendly ways.

With circular fashion, every part of its components happens to be cyclical. In its design, circular fashion needs to be timeless while in the materials of it, they needs to be sustainable in the broader sense of the term. The cloth or accessory should also harbour enough potential for repair and redesign so that alternative uses can be eked out of it after it has served its primary purpose. It is important here to note that the cyclical notions of fashion are so crucially embedded in the realisation of its least exertion principles on the planet that renting and reselling of used products are seen as viable alternatives to discarding them as waste, even when they indeed can be returned back to the environment in friendly ways. In aiding the regeneration of natural resources through maximum use of what has already been extracted, circular fashion itself is a regenerative fashion model that goes beyond the ideals of resource efficiency, biodegradability, and recyclability to include also such associated goods of non-toxicity so that the products thus churned out do not pursue any kind of socio-economic or environmental harm.

The circular mode that fashion has assumed today, or still is embarking on the route of, is a stark diversion from the traditional, or at least longstanding facade of linear model that saw old clothes, sometimes even perfectly intact, being dumped in landfills in alarming proportions as an outbreak of what is known as the fast fashion phenomenon. What’s however another heartening an exploration in the fashion business is that circular fashion happens to be wholesome in its approach towards harbouring the sustainable spirit. Not limited to just avant garde fashion or even aspects of it that caters primarily to what’s trending but also incorporating the broader requirements of everyday wear including sportswear, circular fashion does seem to take into consideration all parts of the fashion requirement as efficiently as it concerns itself with the product in every stage of its dwelling.

While the origins of circular fashion cannot really be pinpointed out precisely, it had been sometime in 2014 that this concept probably emerged and has since then gained ground to covet enough attention, leading to such global aims of the fashion industry that wants to accelerate the process of transition to a circular system. Coined as a term in June that year by Dr. Anna Brismar and Felix Ockborn independently, this self sustaining understanding of fashion is prone to be interpreted in rather ambiguous terms.

Understood more often as recycled fashion and therefore also dismissed as an old concept in new terms, circular fashion indeed does dwell significantly on recycling but not exclusively on it. Within the whole domain of circular fashion rests a lot more associated concepts that might be sustainable fashion goals by themselves but the circular reach of fashion is more than just reusing or recycling or even recovering materials and products. As a system enabled by diverse schemes hailing from the sustainability spectrum, circular fashion though demands a rather radical shift of the existing model of the fashion industry to be wholly effective. Because in not allowing for easy expression of each of such elements that sum up circular fashion in entirety, the circular model itself is prone to coming off as ineffective. Particularly in such cases when circular fashion products are resold, there exists more than a fair chance of their disposal through ways outside of what was intended of them, meaning therefore that even such thoughtfully crafted items of value fail to live up to the potential they hold within themselves. There of course is also associated the consumer tendency to still opt for fast fashion for the mere convenience and style gratification it allows for, spelling therefore such ramifications of a deeply embedded pursuit of the aesthetics that can be a serious dampener in the ‘coming full circle’ credibility of circular fashion. In designing products that can “be made to be made again”, circular fashion sure is more exerting a fashion manifesto to adhere to, but considering the many exemplary ways in which it can better the expanse of our circular planet we sure can do all that it takes to achieve that perfection in congruity.


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