Scaling up the shift towards circular production in fashion and beyond

Session 2
Sep 12 '18 2:50pm–Sep 12 '18, 4:05pm GMT

Exploring ways to scale the adoption of new business models and fast-track innovation and collaboration at the circular production level - in the fashion industry and beyond.


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Valerie Issumo
Prana Sustainable Water
Sep 12 '18, 4:02pm · Report
Thank you!
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Caroline Holme
Special Guest
Sep 12 '18, 4:02pm · Report
We're now in the second session - Mainstreaming circular consumption with the sharing economy. So please join us:
Claudia Freed
Sep 12 '18, 4:01pm · Report
Thank you
La Rhea Pepper
Special Guest
Textile Exchange
Sep 12 '18, 4:01pm · Report
Collaboration and partnering as well as agreeing to a common platform and language in order to communicate -- one example, and the frame for this conversation is the SDGs. Let's all agree to use this common framework for action and share information and promoting the use of tools and reports.
Textile Exchange encourages action under SDG 12 and SDG 17 - Together, we can continue to work to help advance the Sustainable Development Goals. We have a sector report coming soon - Threading the Needle - which focuses on a number of key SDGs for the industry, including SDG 12. We offer up these tools to industry to support this circular initiative.
Karen Newman
united nations
Sep 12 '18, 4:00pm · Report
This is a great example of supporting a network and sharing ideas, I think it's also important that we continue to work on sharing best practices, its been inspiring to see this sector grow and how other like GCU Fair Fashion center, UN Global Compact and Textile Exchange have also looked at devising solutions across silos and with industry leaders.
Cristina Sánchez
Fashion Revolution Spain
Sep 12 '18, 3:59pm · Report
Consumer education is fundamental to hrive towards a circular economy. Any campaign showing what can be achieve would be great!
Perrine Bouhana
Sep 12 '18, 4:00pm · Report
Great Cristina, please join us in our second chat about consumer engagement: .
Dipika Rathod
Capital Employed Consulting ltd
Sep 12 '18, 3:59pm · Report
connect with experts and sponsor creating awareness or generating advocacy. Go tot he innovation, sustainability and creating and synthesising the how to 'best practice' to inform others that do not have R&D budgets and where it makes more sense for deeper experts to be in this space and informing the rest, rather than everyone doing their own research which is not helping the circular economy by players wasting monies on R&D to all come to the same information at varying points.
Perrine Bouhana
Sep 12 '18, 3:59pm · Report
Thank you everyone for a very thoughtful discussion – some excellent ideas and examples shared.

We are now wrapping up this session and moving to the next topic: Mainstreaming circular consumption with the sharing economy. We’d love your contributions to this discussion here: .

Come join us - we've got great experts participating!

If you cannot join us for our next session, please take a moment to let us know your thoughts by completing our feedback survey – please click here:

Summary of Discussion


Q6. How can an actor like C&A Foundation, and its strategic partner Fashion for Good, drive more positive change?

  • More efforts in specific regions
  • Partnerships and collaborations e.g. Textile Exchange encouraging acion under SDG 12 and 17
  • Engage all actors with a focus on consumers
  • Fostering a sharing community - companies should share their learnings on how to change behaviours e.g. SDG Compass, sharing best practice principles
  • Strong leadership support for circularity
  • More brand partners
  • Greater messaging with accurate information
  • Consumer education 

Q5. Which actors in the fashion industry do we need to involve in this transition to circular? 

  • Media - succesful advocacy for circularity from Elle UK (sustainable fashion edition)
  • Financial community - seed funding 
  • Alterntive sectors (e.g. automotive, carpet, insulation, paper etc.) can be leveraged as solutions 
  • Everyone - we need an all-inclusive movement!
  • Government to incentivise circular practices
  • Us, as consumers - responsibility must be shared 
  • Textile producers
  • Advocates such as Greenpeace
  • Board of directors 
  • Education providers (schools, universities, colleges etc.) with a focus on fashion innovation
  • Retailers can impact change throughout the supply chain

Q4. What can we learn from other industries when it comes to adopting these types of circular models?

  • Plastics industry (EMP Plastics Economy Report) – willingness to develop solutions together
  • Consider the entire cycle for products e.g. electronic recycling industry

  • Recycled paper/plastic have the ability to be used several times throughout their lifetime

  • Retail industries – IKEA build circularity into their product design

  • Plastic industry – P&G’s beach plastic bottle integrates beach plastic to an existing supply chain

  • Tech industry for textile development but also helps with transparency

  • Luxury fashion industry continuing to contribute high quality, durable, and repairable pieces

  • Change in narrative - companies need to make the switch to value over profits
  • B2B may work better to adopt circular models - both sides consider profit, greater access, visibility 
  • Lobbying - don't underestimate the value of passionate individuals/groups

Q3. What changes are now needed to overcome these barriers in the industry? How can we make solutions happen?

  • C-suite leadership involvement is crucial for change
  • Collaboration - putting circularity theory into action
  • Pre-competitive platforms e.g. Fashion for Good, allow collaboration between different actors
  • Communicate the value of materials so consumers understand
  • Whole system overhaul and ambition in integrating circularity into the business model
  • Consumer awareness campaigns to address deficiency in knowledge
  • Government support to provide brand and manufacturing incentives
  • Technological innovation
  • Research in support of the circularity
  • Cross-sector collaborations
  • Incentives for development

Q2. What are the barriers to adopting circular product design and / or manufacturing processes in the fashion industry?

  • Limited understanding of what ‘circular’ means – this includes durability and repairability over the lifetime of clothing
  • Designs are driven by trends and therefore lack sustainable credentials
  • Tools which are used to measure sustainable materials e.g. SAC’s Higg Index, are not used at scale
  • Collaborative efforts - no one sector is responsible; industries must work together
  • Support for technology
  • Lack of consumer demand – need a focus on design and production as opposed to just recycling
  • Lack of urgency
  • Developed societies undervalue materials and goods
  • Limited business incentives for circular initiatives
  • Allocation of risk and accountabiity  - suppliers need to be involved in the process 
  • Customer behaviour - the consumer needs to be accountable for their shopping habits
  • Education and incentives!

Best examples of circular models of product design  and / or manufacturing processes in fashion recently?

  • Automotive has potential but the barrier is cost
  • Jeanologia – reducing water consumption and waste management
  • Infrastructure is crucial – leaders include Kering, Nike, Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, Thread International, H&M, Aquafil
  • Impacts must be analysed and these programs must be supported to bring about actual change
  • Circularity has to receive buy-in from top companies

Q1. Fashion industry – leader or laggard in circular models for product design/manufacturing processes


  • Room for improvement – laggard might be too strong. Challenge is the structural nature of the industry.
  • Fashion industry is old-fashion – slow to examine and change its own structures and embrace new ways of doing things e.g. wasteful, unsustainable
  • Pace of change has increased over the last 10 years due to government, industry initiatives, academic research etc.
  • Slow but steady progress to circularity – big stakeholders who are striving and supporting this model
  • Only a few product design leaders within the fashion design industry – get away from ‘lighthouse’ approach (one circular) and help brands transform their business model
  • No industry is truly leading in circular economy today
  • Definition of circularity is stil being defined - therefore the process is leading and lagging

Meet our Special Guests

Sandy Black
Professor of Fashion & …
Centre for Sustainable Fash…
Carmen Gama
Lead Designer for EILEEN FI…
Jeffrey Hogue
Caroline Holme
Leslie Johnston
Executive Director
C&A Foundation
Peter Majeranowski
President & CEO
Tyton BioSciences
La Rhea Pepper
Managing Director
Textile Exchange
Rick Ridgeway
Vice President Environmenta…
Sofia Tärneberg
Senior Content Manager
Global Fashion Agenda
Michael Waas
Global Vice President of Br…
TerraCycle Inc.

Session Moderator

Perrine Bouhana
Associate Director, GlobeSc…
Paris, France


Rick Ridgeway
There's another component of product design important in ra…
Leslie Johnston
There are many barriers. From a 1) lack of a unified under…
Rick Ridgeway
No industry is leading at the moment, although automotive h…
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