Making use of what's already there
Have you started hearing more people talking about “closing the loop” lately?
We have, and we choose to see it as an indication that we’re entering a new era; one characterized by a shift in people’s mindsets.
So what does “closing the loop” refer to? Well, it has to do with a switch from a linear to a circular economy, or a linear to a circular fashion system. In a linear economy – the economy that has characterized industrial fashion and pretty much the rest of the world for the last decade – we’ve picked out raw materials of our choice, produced and consumed them according to our immediate demands, and then thrown them away without considering the consequences. Every part of this linear production process has been individually optimized, and long-term consequences have been largely ignored. In short, it’s all about take-make-consume-throw away.
In a circular economy, the idea is instead to create as little waste and as little social and environmental impact as possible, placing a higher value on the components throughout the supply chain. In a circular fashion economy raw materials are handled in ways that make possible an upgrade or reuse. The idea is for the components to travel through as many cycles as possible instead of reaching an “end of life”.
Given that the idea of a circular economy is to create a loop of events, everyone in the supply chain carries responsibility for the shift to take place. Producers have to consider the triple bottom-line – people, planet and profit – when measuring their success, and consumers have to change their behavioral patterns in order for them to fit into a circular system.
And for the fashion system to really, systemically change, innovation is necessary. We need the right tools for key figures within the supply chain to turn to when attempting to make the switch.
In this section, we explore innovations with one thing in common: contributing to that closed loop by making use of what’s already here.