Being a sustainably conscious brand, Shu Da likes to keep its finger on the pulse as to what is happening in the fashion industry, and stay up to date with developments in sustainable fashion that may help our own brand grow and evolve. It can be overwhelming to try and dissect all the different sustainable initiatives out there, and what they REALLY mean for businesses. In a series of posts, our team research sustainable hot topics for our industry today, explaining why they are important, and how they can shape the future of our brand and its products.
Today we look at Circular Fashion, exploring what it actually means and how it can benefit both the industry and the environment.
It’s no secret that the fashion industry is one of the biggest pollutants of the planet today. According to the Ellen MacArthur foundation, ‘one truck load of clothes goes into landfill, or is burned every second, with less than 1% of used clothing turned back into new clothes’.
The fashion industry is dominated by a linear ‘take-make-dispose’ approach, meaning that clothes are cheaply made then quickly thrown away. The lifespan of a product starts at production and ends at landfill, without any consideration as to how to prevent clothes ever becoming waste.
So, the BIG question, how can brands move from a linear to a circular fashion approach? And why should brands be adopting this business model to change the fashion landscape?
What is Circular Fashion?
Circular fashion means that every part of a product is cyclical; it is passed on, repurposed or resold, eliminating any waste going back into the environment.
- To start at the beginning of the process, circular fashion begins with the product concept; why is the product being created? How will it be used, and who does it benefit? These questions help brands understand how their product will be used, and if there is a necessity to create the product in the first place.
- The next stage of circular fashion is the consideration of materials. If brands use high quality materials to create products, they can be passed on, re-purposed or resold after use. This eliminates, or dramatically decreases the chances of products becoming waste.
- The final key point of circular fashion is considering the processes used in product manufacturing. Eliminating pollution is a major factor in achieving circular fashion. For example, fashion is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply, so investing in sustainable manufacturing and sourcing methods that help decrease the waste and pollution that go back into the environment is key. Also, ensuring acceptable working conditions are in place for production and factory workers is a highly important element in the circular fashion process.
How will Circular Fashion benefit businesses?
The ultimate goal of circular fashion is to eliminate pollution and waste in the industry, and to keep materials and products in use for as long as possible, but it will also benefit businesses by utilizing resources, and therefore saving money. Switching from linear thinking to circular thinking is ultimately a smart way to utilize resources for businesses, as well as to protect the planet.
Circular fashion is still a young concept in the fashion industry, and it has only started to gain traction over the last few years with the rise of climate change awareness. A study carried out by Vogue Business estimated that a circular fashion industry could have a potential market value of $5.3 trillion dollars; a higher value than the current fashion industry model value of $3 trillion dollars. This highlights great potential for brands to start moving more quickly towards a circular fashion approach.
Shu Da and Circular Fashion
At Shu Da we are conscious of trying to move our business towards a more circular approach. We acknowledge that we can’t get there overnight, but with each collection we create, we want to make it more sustainable than the last. What we are doing now:
- We don't send any unsold Shu Da stock to landfill.
- Any excess Shu Da product sampling is donated to footwear charity Shoe Aid for re-purposing.
- All our factories are audited to ensure acceptable working conditions for workers.
- We use premium materials and textiles in all our slippers and trainers, as well as finishing all our manufacturing to a high quality spec, increasing the Shu Da product lifespan.
- All our products use some form of recycled materials in the manufacturing process, including recycled faux fur, recycled polyester, and recycled rubber.
Our plans for the next 12 months:
- Introduce UK manufacturing to reduce the carbon footprint of Shu Da products.
- Start selling Shu Da slipper and trainer insoles. This will allow our customers to increase the lifespan of their Shu Da products by replacing only the insole, rather than buying a brand new product.
- Introduce the use of biodegradable and nature materials to our products, such as bamboo, organic cotton and sugar cane.
- Create products which are 100% sustainable.
We want to be as transparent as we possibly can with our customers, and as we grow, we too are learning and exploring better ways to make products that are kind on the planet…..we hope you can join us on our sustainable journey!