The impact of COVID-19 on the fashion industry: circular fashion

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has largely affected the fashion industry from the people it employs to the waste it has created, however this crisis could create an opportunity to rethink the industry. 

Can we call it a new era for the fashion industry?

The fashion industry has been negatively impacted by covid-19 in many different ways. Many physical stores are closing their doors, online stores feel they must offer discounts to boost their sales, workers are operating in unsafe conditions and factories are getting many cancelled orders. 

However, we hope that Covid-19 has caused people to live and consume more consciously. The lockdown has brought people back closer to the essence, rethinking their values. Hopefully we will also see this trend reflected in the fashion industry. It can lead us to reusing and mending our clothes as well as adopting a mindset of longevity when it comes to our wardrobes.

Are we moving toward a more circular fashion industry? 

Unfortunately, the global textiles industry is still operating an almost entirely linear system: it extracts large amounts of natural resources to make clothes that are used only a few times before becoming waste. In fact, less than 1% of what is produced is recycled into new textile and 87% is landfilled or incinerated. 

In a circular model, products are designed and developed with the next use in mind. The fashion products should be made with minimal and environmental-friendly resources and should be reused or recycled into a new product so that it keeps flowing through the circular fashion wheel. This is a shared responsibility for producer, retailer and consumer. 

What can producers do? 

  • Design with a purpose
  • Design for longevity
  • Design for resource efficiency
  • Design for biodegradability
  • Design for recyclability
  • Source and produce locally
  • Source and produce without toxicity
  • Source and produce with efficiency
  • Source and produce with renewables
  • Source and produce with good ethics
  • Provide services to support longer life
  • Reuse, recycle or compost all remains
  • Collaborate well and widely
What can consumers do?
  • Use, wash and repair with care
  • Consider loan, rent, swap or redesign instead of buying new
  • Buy quality as opposed to quantity 
Sources used for this article: 
  • Forbes.com
  • Motif.org 
  • Ieep.eu 

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