On trend - recycling in the fashion industry
In the throwaway society we live in, the fashion industry often gets touted as being a real culprit contributing to the problem, thanks to the trend of ‘disposable fashion’ made possible by having cheap clothes so readily available that we think nothing of purchasing them and discarding them after just a few washes if they start to lose shape or colour. As European leaders in recycling, we think this is an irresponsible and unsustainable practice, so we were delighted to read that recycling in the fashion industry has really taken off. Here’s what you need to know:
Fashion, like every other industry, relies on raw materials in order to deliver the goods, and in world of clothing this material is cotton. Reducing the demand for cotton by recycling clothing to make other goods will reduce the need for this raw material production, which in turn saves on water and energy consumption. Recycled or upcycled clothing has taken on a new lease of life recently, with many fashion bloggers leading the way to show how customising your existing clothes or finding preloved items in charity shops can be much more economical and sustainable than buying new stuff every time.
What happens to recycled textiles?
Clothes that are donated to charity shops than can’t be resold, are then sorted and graded and then normally exported to be resold in the country of origin. Where this is not possible, the materials can sometimes be shred and respun, to be incorporated into new textiles, again reducing the dependence on raw materials. In a lot of cases, the recycled materials can be used in other industries too - knitted and woollen-type materials are reused as car insulation, roofing felt and furniture padding for example.
Who are the key high street retailers embracing this change?
Revolutionary Kent-based company Elvis and Kresse have disrupted the fashion industry enormously, by designing luxury lifestyle accessories made from solely reclaimed materials, like handbags made from decommissioned fire hose. Check out more about this amazing company here.
Marks & Spencer’s high profile recycling initiative aimed at recycling unwanted clothes is named ‘Shwopping’ and now consists of ‘shwop drop bins’ in all high street stores for customers to drop off their unwanted clothes for recycling, whether they were purchased in M&S or not. We can only hope more high street retailers will follow in their footsteps in an attempt to be more responsible and sustainable.Back