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Hand holding a phone with a green recycle sign.

A new term that has been floating on the breeze over the last 10 years, circular fashion is a movement and mindset that is steadily growing. Social media and digital content have simultaneously accelerated the pace of fashion, but also raised our awareness of how it all works.

From documentaries exposing poor conditions for clothes factory workers to the excess fashion waste that we all throw out each year. Circular fashion has never been more necessary and important. So what is circular fashion? Before we delve into its meaning, we need to understand what the current fashion economy looks like…

The current fashion economy  

Over the last few decades, the fashion economy has been dominated by fast fashion. Businesses pushed the benefits and positivity of being able to keep up with emerging trends. However, most hid the environmental and human costs that fast fashion brought to the world. Season after season we are encouraged to buy into the latest styles and trends, without giving much thought to how our garments were created, and where they’ll go when we’re finished with them.

A globe surrounded by plastic bags. A note reading 'POLLUTUON' is stuck to the globe.
Fast fashion is polluting the planet in multiple ways | Photo by Anna Shvets

Because of our rising awareness of what fast fashion involves, some (but not all) businesses are now choosing to make big changes to their systems. They might be starting to use recycled materials or introducing take-back schemes.

While this is much better than the linear fashion life cycle we currently have, brands and consumers alike can go one step further. Enter, circular fashion.

What is circular fashion?

Circular fashion is a term that embraces the idea that fashion can be enjoyed and used without negatively harming the health of the planet. Like a closed-loop or ‘circular’ economy, the aim is to reduce or eliminate waste, and to create products without harming people or the planet.

As an example, fashion brands could do this by recycling off-cuts, eliminating their fossil fuel usage or introducing a take-back or recycling scheme.

And as consumers, we have a role to play too. We can choose to buy pre-loved and vintage clothes, or only buy from companies who have these eco-conscious and circular fashion values.

A note with a capital RE, followed by: duce, use, cycle. Reducing, reusing and recycling is how we can create a circular fashion economy.
Reduce, reuse, recycle | Photo by Vlada Karpovich

Is buying vintage a form of circular fashion?

According to The Fashion Circular, buying vintage is one of the most sustainable fashion options we can support. And choosing pre-loved and vintage clothing is definitely on the rise.

With the help of apps like Depop and Vinted, more of us are seeing the value in pre-loved bags, accessories, clothes and homeware. It’s valuable in more ways than one, whilst saving us pennies, it also clearly removes the impact that a newly created item could have on the environment. Instead of using up resources, a vintage item has already been made, therefore eliminating the use of extra materials that would be needed to create a new item.

A red neon sign with the word, 'VINTAGE' in capitals. What is circular fashion? Vintage fashion can play a large part.
Neon sign outside a vintage store | Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

If you needed any more persuasion as to why you should try browsing pre-loved and vintage sites, check out our post, 8 reasons to love the pre-loved

Whether you’re looking to add a pre-loved designer handbag into your wardrobe, or a vintage dress. Choose the slow fashion route and opt for something pre-loved and/or vintage.

Vintage fashion at Timeless Vintage

Here at Timeless Vintage Co, we specialise in selling pre-loved and vintage designer bags and gifts. From highly covetable Chanel Flap Bags to iconic Louis Vuitton shoulder bags. If you’re hoping to add a classic bag to your wardrobe, check out our guide to buying a pre-loved handbag for expert tips and considerations.

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