To be interested in fashion is also to be interested in its economy: from the creation of a brand to its distribution, passing of course by its financing and production. The fashion economy is in perpetual evolution with a production that in recent years has concentrated in low-cost countries with excesses that we know both humanly and environmentally. And which in response, more and more players are seeking to offer an “Ethical Fashion”. An economy that has also become digital, favoring new models: “Crowdfunding” campaigns, disintermediation in the distribution of clothing with the “Direct to the consumer” model, much richer brands offer, etc. As many topics as we wanted to deal in this theme dedicated to the economy of fashion.
What is the circular economy?
The concept of circular economy is quite new, although practices have existed for a long time. Circular economy comes from several streams of thought that take the principle of taking nature as an example. It is therefore a question of reproducing cyclic operation to eliminate any notion of “waste”, and to create only secondary material, like the dead leaf that becomes fertilizer by decomposing. As you can see, the secondary material is thus the result of the raw material, recovered and reworked to serve again.
When we talk about a circular economy, we think about recycling quite quickly. However, the latter can be very expensive and energy-consuming if the product is not designed for this purpose. Ecodesign anticipates recycling. It is a preventive approach where designers and engineers will think about the product by integrating from the start the possibility of recovering the material. There are several criteria to consider when developing a product for recycling: service life, material recycling properties, functionality, assembly (and disassembly), and so on. All these details will save businesses time, money and especially energy. Take the example of the fashion industry, at present, a garment can contain many different materials and be covered with accessories, such as pearls or buttons, which greatly complicates recycling! Imagine having to recycle tons and tons of clothes … Considering the time and energy needed, it would be important to imagine products that are easy to disassemble, right? Eco-design could respond to these difficulties by integrating recycling possibilities from the creation of the garment.
The economy of functionality
Although it can be studied separately, the economics of functionality can be linked to the circular economy when it also seeks to initiate a new way of consuming and thus reverse the tendency to create waste. In this case, companies no longer propose to sell the product but the use of this product. The symbolic value of property is replaced by the functional value of use. More and more companies are emerging based on this model. In the world of fashion, Tale me or Les ReBelles in Antwerp are Belgian companies that operate on the principle of renting clothes, thus enabling them to cope with the important turnover of fashion trends and thereby fight against the constitution of waste. With subscription systems, you can choose new parts every month and keep renewing your wardrobe!