Retailers pioneering sustainable, circular fashion
Promoting a non-wasteful circular economy, Farfetch, Vestiaire Collective and & Other Stories are keeping us, and our wardrobes in the loop
When it comes to global clothing waste, the statistics are staggering. In the US, it’s estimated that consumers send 21 billion pounds of textile waste to landfills every year, while in the UK 350,000 tonnes or £140 million worth of used, but still wearable clothing goes to landfill annually. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation even estimates that the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned every second.
The pace of seasonal collections, fast fashion and furious levels of global consumption have led to people dumping clothing, instead of reusing, recycling or reabsorbing garments back into the supply chains. But brands and retailers are upping their credentials when it comes to promoting non-linear circular fashion. Here, we round up our closed-loop leaders…
We’ve all succumbed to an ‘It Bag’ buy: that must-have style that wanes in our fashion favour after a single season. Now, as part of its long term sustainability strategy, e-commerce behemoth Farfetch has pulled it out of the bag with a pilot Second Life programme, which allows customers to trade in old designer handbags in exchange for credit. The initial plan allows customers to resell styles from 27 brands, including Gucci, Balenciaga, Celine, Chanel, Dior and Chloé. All shoppers need to do is upload images and information regarding the bag they are keen to exchange. The items are then reviewed within two business days and collected from the customer free of charge. Clutch bags for credit, all with the click of a button. What could be simpler (or chicer)?
When Vestiaire Collective launched in 2009, the online retailer – which buys and sells pre-owned luxury fashion – was a pioneer of environmentally friendly retailing. Fast forward a decade and the concept of circular fashion is at the forefront of fashion’s sustainability strategies, although in a recent survey the company conducted in 10 of its key markets, the retailer discovered that 70 per cent of its respondents had never heard of circular fashion. Now, in a bid to boost awareness, Vestiaire Collective has launched ‘Buy, Sell, Share, Care’, a consumer guide to circular fashion, which offers practical advice regarding reselling and recycling, including the ten key steps to a closet detox, a step by step guide to buying pre-owned fashion and key places to donate - think Oxfam Wastesaver in London, The Salvation Army in Hong Kong and Altrapolab in Madrid. ‘Just because you are over an item, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it,’ the Vestiaire Collective reselling guide decrees. It’s time to spread that good cheer.
& Other Stories
Last week, the label released a sustainable jewellery collection with fellow Swedish designer Mia Larsson, on a series of surfs-up inspired pieces crafted from recycled scallop shells and silver. But its environmental efforts don’t stop there. In a host of territories, from Sweden to Spain, Ireland to the United States, customers are encouraged to bring bags of unwanted textiles in store, in return for a 10 per cent discount voucher. These materials are then recycled into fibres and non-woven fabrics, reworn as second hand clothing or upcycled into other products including carpet underlay, stuffed toys, shoe insoles and geofleece. In Sweden, the brand are also trialing a second life programme, encouraging customers to buy or sell second hand & Other Stories products on online platform Sellpy. §