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British Fashion Council begins flagship research project on circular fashion

Lauretta Roberts
02 October 2020

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced the first flagship research project from its Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF), which will focus on fast-tracking the movement to circular business operations.

The Waste Ecosystem Project promises to be an action-driven plan detailing solutions for how the fashion industry can responsibly manage inventory, reduce waste, and adopt circular practices.

It will focus on actions and infrastructures needed in key areas and outline a proposal for change across the whole value chain, and other key areas of the industry such as Education and Training, Collections and Recycling infrastructure, Textile Recycling Innovations, Upcycling and Consumer Mindset. 

The project’s ambition is to fast-track the move to a circular fashion industry in the UK and to act as a blueprint to share with other organisations and nations to look at their efforts in creating a circular fashion industry globally. 

According to the 2019 Pulse report, fashion accounted for 4% of all global carbon emissions  and without radical action it will account for one quarter of the world's carbon budget by 2050. In addition, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) approximately 11 million items of clothing go into landfill each year.

BFC CEO Caroline Rush commented: “Now, more than ever, there is a need to help the fashion industry accelerate towards a world of circularity as a result of the inventory waste crisis. Post the pandemic, we have a massive opportunity to reset the fashion industry rather than returning to business as usual and the Waste Ecosystem Project will play a key part in this. We are delighted to work with Vanish on this project and together to engage both consumers and industry in playing their part in fashion circularity.” 

The Waste Ecosystem Project will work with industry, academia, and Government across three areas: 

1. Global Research: Market assessment to find best practice and innovation, culminating in a research paper to set out the proposed parameters and requirements for enabling the UK fashion industry to become circular. 

2. Proposal for Change: from the research findings, set out the guidelines and a roadmap as a proposal for change 

3. Implementation: working with businesses and Government, the final phase will look at a programme for implementing best practice in the UK

Reckitt Benckiser-owned stain removal brand Vanish has become a partner of the IPF to support the project. It will also become BFC’s official Garment Care Partner and establish a year-long consumer education programme to embed more sustainable fashion behaviours in collaboration with industry experts, fashion influencers and thought leaders. 

In addition Vanish will be a sponsor of London Fashion Week helping to raise awareness of circular fashion to a wider audience

The IPF was established to help the British Fashion Industry lead in the goal to be more resilient and circular through global collaboration and local action. More information can be found on its website. 

This week two major fashion brands announced the launch of circular fashion collections this week. ASOS has created a trend-led line created using circular design principles, having trained all of its design team in circular design, and H&M has also unveiled a new "circular" men's denim line.

Image Credit: Dave Benett

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