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  • Writer's pictureThe Detective

How Sustainable Brands fail to be Circular in Design

Design is not just derived from the final look of a garment; the silhouette. Design is a field reaching far beyond those borders. When it comes to fashion, every decision that is made that brings a garment a step further to its final 'look', is a design decision. Sustainability is a highly attractive marketing term, leading to the current Sustainability Paradox and even higher levels of greenwashing by brands that are worried to save their business. If there is a difference between Sustainable and Circular Fashion, then we need to dive into that matter so we become better decision makers and can actively make a positive impact on the environment, while looking fabulous.

Photo: Unsplash

What is Sustainable Fashion Today

If you look at a brand's online shop today, you're highly likely to encounter the word "sustainability" or the phrase "eco-conscious fashion". According to the dictionary, the definition of sustainability is as follows:

"the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time"

The compromise in design and materials choices in order to launch a product onto the market, is in my opinion due to a lack of trying harder to do good.

The power of marketing and communication.

Words can be meaningless. Words can be extremely powerful. Either way, I believe it is every circumstance important to consider the choice made for the words the receiving party reads. Put simply; what you read, communicates a message to you. But not always does the truth resemble the promise made by the words we read. This is often prevalent in what we today know as "greenwashing". This is when a company communicates with words how they care about sustainability, but they do not walk their talk. For example, when a brand loudly communicates how they have launched a "eco-conscious" collection, but the majority of their production continues to be rather the opposite; damaging to the environment.

What is Circular Fashion Today

If you read the books Doughnut Economics and Cradle to Cradle, you soon enough learn that the only true meaning of circular fashion lies in the degree of how compostable the final product is. It is these theories that have strongly inspired my vision for a healthy fashion industry; correction, a healthy textiles industry, because everything we make, is made with textiles.

Photo: Unsplash


- Sustainability Paradox :

- Sustainability, definition :

- Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth

- Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough

- Project Drawdown, Paul Hawken

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