How to ‘close the loop’ in fashion?

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Closing the loop on take, make, waste: Investigating circular economy practices in the Swedish fashion industry

Peer-reviewed research by: Dr Taylor Brydges

The global fashion and apparel industry has a longstanding, ongoing, and growing, reputation for exploitation and waste. Drawing on the Swedish fashion industry, this paper shows how interventions to curb environmental impact must consider the many stages across the life of a garment (notably: take, make, and waste). Here is the abstract: 

The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful consumer industries in the world. Through the advent of fast fashion – trendy, low-cost clothing produced by global fashion brands – clothing has evolved from a durable good to a daily purchase. In recent years, the concept of the circular economy, a framework for a more efficient, closed-loop economy, has emerged as a key way forward in the transition to a more sustainable and less wasteful fashion industry. This paper investigates how the Swedish fashion industry has implemented circular economy principles. Drawing on interviews with the founders, CEOs, and/or brand sustainability managers of 19 Swedish fashion brands, this article maps circular economy strategies across key stages: take, make, and waste. Crucially, for the fashion industry to move towards circularity, this paper argues that brands must integrate these strategies across supply chains, rather than limiting them to the waste stage. The analysis explores the gaps between circular economy principles and practice, identifying challenges inherent in fashion brand approaches. It concludes with recommendations for further study of the circular economy and the fashion industry.

Click here to read the full open-access article, published in 2021 in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Full Reference //

Brydges, T. (2021). Closing the loop on take, make, waste: Investigating circular economy practices in the Swedish fashion industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 293: 126245

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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