Primark and H&M among brands to join new fashion initiative to boost circularity

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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which campaigns for a more circular economy and is leading the project, said brands will work on identifying solutions to decouple revenue from the unsustainable production of new garments.

Fast fashion brands including Primark and H&M have long been accused of environmentally-damaging practices, greenwashing and labour abuses in their supply chains.

The “take-make-waste” model means millions of tonnes of clothing are produced and discarded every year, with truckloads ending up in landfills or incinerated every second.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is advocating for more practices like rental, resale, repair and remaking to help to keep products in use.

Recent research from the foundation estimated that this could make up 23% of the global fashion market by 2030, representing a 700 billion dollar opportunity to transform the future of fashion.

Arc’teryx, Arket, Cos, Reformation and Weekday are also some of the first participants in the Fashion ReModel initiative, launched at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

The charity said it believes the shared learnings and experiences among the brands will help forge a path towards a more sustainable fashion industry.

The new initiative follows the foundation’s “Jeans Redesign” project, which tasked participants to reimagine the wardrobe staple to be fit for a circular economy between 2019 and 2023.

Jules Lennon, fashion lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “Through their participation in The Fashion ReModel, this group of organisations are taking the next step on the road towards a circular economy for fashion.

“In order to challenge conventional linear models and create a new normal, brands must decouple revenue from production by accelerating efforts to redesign the products of the future, as well as rethinking the services and business models which deliver them to customers and keep them in use.

“The fashion industry is rooted in reinvention and we welcome business-led action towards a world where, instead of being worn once and discarded, clothes can be used many more times and threaded through the lives of more people.”

Leyla Ertur, head of sustainability at the H&M Group, said: “The Jeans Redesign pushed us to explore what circular design could mean for our product assortment and now The Fashion ReModel is set to do the same with circular business models.

“The opportunity presented by decoupling the fashion industry’s growth from resource use is huge and this project can help us better understand how to further scale these models.”

Dominique Showers, vice president of ReBIRD at Arc’teryx, said: “Arc’teryx is committed to a circular future, building products to last and equipping our guests with the tools and education to keep their gear in play.

“We’re excited to be one of the first participants to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s demonstration project, The Fashion ReModel, to reimagine circularity for the outdoor industry, rethinking the way we approach design and waste to build a future in which everything we create can be given a second life.”

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