Products of Change

DRIVING SUSTAINABLE
CHANGE TOGETHER

Tue 22 Nov 2022 | by Rob Hutchins

British Fashion Council sets out vision for circular fashion ecosystem across the UK

The British Fashion Council has partnered with the Amsterdam non-profit Circle Economy to launch an ‘innovative roadmap’ for creating city-led circular fashion ecosystems across the UK. It’s part of a plan to make the UK ‘a leader in circular economies.’ The partnership was forged earlier this year in a bid to develop a replicable methodology for creating circular fashion ecosystems on a city level by incorporating Doughnut Economic thinking. These ecosystems aim to not only design out waste but will also ensure that both people and the planet can thrive. The British Fashion Council and Circle Economy were brought together to answer two fundamental questions:

  1. How can circular fashion ecosystems be created at city level, using London and Leeds as the first exemplars?
  2. And how can a solution ensure ecological and societal considerations are part of every decision made, by using the Doughnut Economy as a lens?
Together with key players in the industry, the partnership studies the current state of London and Leeds, mapped local stakeholders and initiatives, and developed a transformation journey to realise circular ecosystems in the two cities in the years to come. Products of Change members can learn the basics of the Doughnut Economy and the principles of the Circular Economy by engaging with the platform’s Education programme here. The vision has been set out in a new report published by both the BFC and Circle Economy in which it details its plans to ‘future proof the fashion industry and guide members towards sustainability.’ Revealed in an exclusive interview with Vogue Business this week, the plan is to develop circular fashion ecosystems through workshops with industry stakeholders, sharing knowledge and scaling pilots as well as working with local governments to build infrastructure. The first phase of the work will focus primarily on maximising utilisation through product circularity, reduced volume of new physical clothing, and optimised sorting methods and materials recovery. Future workshops and pilot schemes will add detail to how this is achieved and what it entails. Speaking with Vogue Business, Ilektra Kouloumpi, senior strategist at Circle Economy and Thriving Cities lead, said: “Doughnut Economics combines the local context of a city with its global impacts. It’s a whole new way of designing and creating a vision, bringing together elements for what makes people thrive here with livelihoods elsewhere, and environmental impacts here and elsewhere.” Groups consulted by Circle Economy on the project between April and July 2022 included academics, brands, collectors, consumers, designers, digital innovators, government, institutions, industry bodies, and third sector investors, logistics providers, manufacturers, reprocessors, and retailers. “This report provides a methodology for how we want to work with the fashion industry, but nothing has actually happened yet,” said Ilektra. The initiative will engage with ‘more progressive brands first,’ to create case studies to convince more traditional brands of its merits. “It’s all very far out compared to the current state, but it’s needed,” added Ilektra. Check out the report here.