A CIRCULAR APPROACH TO DESIGN
“Closing the loop” is widely seen as the future of a more sustainable society. A closed loop system is one where products are designed, manufactured and used so as to circulate within society for as long as possible. In fashion this includes designing durable and biodegradable or recyclable clothing, re-using and reducing waste through repairs and customer take-back programs, and up-cycling existing materials. Designing in this way helps tackle fashion’s huge waste problem, and a reduced reliance on new materials helps with a whole host of associated issues like environmental and human impact of chemical use, soil degradation, use of resources like water and energy, and CO2 emissions.
While it is still hard to be fully circular, a lot of brands are making great steps into the right direction by employing circular thinking as they design. We broke down some of the different approaches for you below, and of course you can find all of these products in the circular collection in the store.
VIRÓN: leather made from food waste, recycled materials and sole recycling scheme
Paris-based brand VIRÓN takes a slow fashion approach by focusing on circularity and a philosophy deeply routed in youth and counterculture. They use eco-friendly vegan leather alternatives like apple and corn waste from the food industry instead of animal products and minimise virgin materials by using up-cylced army surplus supplies and recycled canvas, polyester and rubber. Through their take-back scheme, used soles can be sent back to the factory and made in to a new shoe.
Find out more about Virón and shop the collection HERE.
New Order of Fashion: recycled materials & zero-waste patterns
The New Order of Fashion 'From Scratch' collection is part of an ongoing up-cycling research project in collaboration with designers Alicia Minnaard, Bart Hess, Marie Sloth Rousing and recycle partner Wolkat. It started by collecting unwanted clothing from the people of Eindhoven, sorting and processing them in to completely new yarns and textiles and finally making it into bags by using a zero-waste pattern. This project shows the huge potential of the clothes we already have in circulation to create high quality, desirable, and functional products without any waste.
Find out more about New Order of Fashion and shop the collection (exclusively available on PARO) HERE.
Archivist Studio: up-cycled luxury bed sheets
Archivist Studio save discarded high quality textiles from the luxury hotel industry and turn them into timeless garments for all occasions. Several luxury hotels in London and Amsterdam provide the brand with the finest Egyptian cotton that they turned into 8 classic shirt designs for men and women.
When hotel bed linen is discarded, it is still in a perfect state to be up-cycled to quality clothing. Archivist embrace the small defects it might have and embellish them whilst also averting waste from off-cuts as much as possible.
Find out more about Archivist Studio and shop the collection HERE.
PSSBL: materials made with recycled plastic, and river clean-up programme
PSSBL are on a mission to clean up our oceans and produce in a socially responsible way by making bags from 100% recycled fabric - made from plastic bottles and fishing nets. They proudly source and produce out of Asia because they found the best material suppliers, high-quality manufacturers for outdoor performance products there. In the future PSSBL plan to use the plastic collected by the river clean up programmes they organise in Cambodia, as the raw material for their collection.
Find out more about PSSBL and shop the collection HERE.
MAKE: rescued deadstock materials
MAKE are a Cardiff based brand taking a unique and imaginative approach to circularity through fabric-first, zero-waste design using deadstock materials to tackle the waste problem in fashion. Founder Sam has been collecting fabric from a young age, and over his 20 years in the fashion industry he built a global network of friendships and connections for surplus materials across the globe. “Once I had become aware of the amount of surplus material that goes to landfill or incineration I decided to start a brand just using this fabric. Trend forecasting and commercial mechanisms in conventional design are becoming increasingly irrelevant and less interesting I wanted to do something new and positive.”
Find out more about MAKE and shop the collection HERE.
Mia Larsson: recycled materials, repairs for life, and recylable/biodegrable
Mia Larsson’s circular approach comes from a belief that nature, materials and humans are all connected. “I chose seashells recycled from restaurants as my material because it is an organic, decomposable, intelligent ceramic waste material from the mussel that are high protein food with low carbon imprints.” Mia combines the discarded seashells - which come from fisheries/restaurants that guarantee sustainable fishing practices - with recycled silver, to make truly unique jewellery and offers free repairs to help keep your jewellery lasting as long as possible.
Find out more about Mia Larsson and shop the collection HERE.
Pat Guzik: up-cycling vintage clothing as materials for new garments
Pat Guzik was inspired to address the impact of fast fashion in her designs when she couldn't find real vintage items anymore because there was too much of last seasons fast fashion in second hand stores. To tackle this problem, Pat asks you to send your unwanted and unwearable clothing - from any brand - to her. “I will make the best out of them, treat them as a material for new garments or samples while you will be able to enjoy 10% off your next purchase in my store. This way, together we minimize the amount of textile waste sent to landfill and help more garments stay in the loop.”
You can find out more about Pat Guzik and shop the collection HERE.
Each designer’s motivation and execution differs, but all see the creative and social opportunity in creating with what already exists, and are taking steps towards closing the loop. Very few brands are doing this fully yet; designing products that can be completely recycled is tricky, and so is providing the infrastructure for people to participate. But many brands are making moves in this direction, so look out for alternative sourced and up-cycled fabrics, and ask brands if your items can be repaired or recycled, and support brands who are thinking more circular, less disposable in their approach.
Explore the PARO brands who are passionate about circularity HERE.