What is Circular Fashion?

Since you’ve landed on this page, I’m guessing you’re across fast and why the demand for faster, cheaper clothing is both unethical and unsustainable. You probably even remember a time in your life pre fast fashion when there were just 2-to-4 fashion seasons annually, while now there are up to 52 micro seasons.

You might be aware that the fashion industry is the 3rd largest global industry polluter, just after the oil industry, and that the industry produces an estimated 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Also, the textile industry is the 2nd largest polluter of local freshwater, and is responsible for roughly 1/5 of all industrial water pollution.

fashion water pollution

Some of the main factors that contribute to this pollution are overproduction, synthetic fibers, agricultural pollution of fashion crops, and the proliferation of microfibers across global water sources.

fashion textile waste

Just 6% of clothing around the world is recycled, upcycled or resold, and every year, globally we discard enough textile waste to fill the Sydney Harbour. This textile waste ends up in landfill.

Everything about the trajectory of the growing fast fashion industry is unsustainable...

By considering the production of a garment and the end of its life as equally important, the circular fashion movement presents a solution; It takes responsibility for the fibers being used to make the clothing, preferencing chemical-free farming and organic and recycled fibers, where possible. And it holds itself accountable for the full lifespan of a garment, addressing the fashion industry’s epic waste issue. In circular fashion, products are designed and made  to be durable - even utilitarian, repairable and recyclable. The goal is to create a system where waste is minimised, and products are used to their fullest potential before being recycled or repurposed.

Circular fashion also involves the use of new business models, such as rental and resale (“preloved”), to extend the life of products and prevent them from ending up in landfills.

The principles of the 'circular economy' emphasises the need to move away from a linear model of production and consumption (i.e., make, use and dispose), and instead adopt a closed-loop approach where resources are kept in use for as long as possible.

HEY JOEY Kids Unisex Sunday Shirt (emerald palms) and Kids Joey Pants (clay)

HEY JOEY clothes, for example, are made from 100% natural and durable fibers – about 50% of which is organic, are frequently unisex, providing each garment more potential wear, are made to last, and offcuts and left-over fabric is used to make kid versions of adult designs. Furthermore, customers are incentivised to recycle their old clothes – any and all clothes and labels are welcome – in exchange for discounts on new HEY JOEY purchases. And if a garment is eligible to join HEY JOEY's 'Preloved' collection, said customer can choose to receive an even bigger HEY JOEY discount voucher or resell on consignment.

For circular fashion to become ubiquitous – and let’s face it, our planet and future generations on it require it to be, consumers have an important role to play in driving the adoption of sustainable practices in the fashion industry. By making conscious consumer choices and recognising their purchasing power – choosing to buy from sustainable brands and supporting rental, resale and recycling initiatives, consumers will help create demand for circular fashion and become central in our collective and global transition toward an environmentally equitable and circular economy.