Waste is one of the biggest problems in the fashion industry. Circularity is the term that describes the movement that’s trying to fix that, but how exactly, and what are we at HEW doing to work towards circularity in fashion?
There are two kinds of production chains: linear and circular. Linear is the kind of production chain we are used to: we use raw materials to make a product, we sell that product, the customer uses that product, the customer throws that product away, and the lifecycle ends. It’s a straight line, often to landfill.
Alternately, circular is the kind of production chain where we consider the end-of-life of the product, and try to ensure that the end of life can contribute to the start-of-life again, creating a circle – or circular! – lifecycle for the product.
It is critical that we move towards circular production chains in fashion. In Australia, on average, we each throw out 23kg worth of clothing a year (source: ABC War on Waste), which ends up in landfill. We need to stop clothing going to landfill, or reducing its impact if it does go to landfill, in order to create a more sustainable fashion industry, and here are a few ways we can do this.
Use natural, preferably sustainable fabrics, because these biodegrade, reducing end-of-life impact. At HEW, we only use natural fabrics, including linen and cotton. We’re taking this one step further, too, by moving our finishings to biodegradable alternatives, including the use of biodegradable bamboo buttons, which look really great too (it’s a win-win).
Buy less, buy better. At Hew, we design pieces that can be worn a bunch of different ways, all year around, so our customers can keep their cost-per-wear game strong and reduce their wardrobes’ impacts simultaneously. It’s a win-win.
Create a second life for our pieces. We run a workshop on Instagram called Upcycle Sunday (join us this week!) where our designer Ema Hewitt introduces ways we can get new life out of old clothes with pretty simple things like tie-dying, slight alterations, and more. Follow along for some inspiration, which doubles as a lockdown activity, too!