“Our Mission Is To Accelerate The Transition To A Circular Economy” Ellen MacArthur
Today 2nd December 2019 marked the day that Elodie, the Project Manager for Circular Design for Fashion from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation came to visit the Kalopsia studio and factory in Edinburgh.
There are many challenges faced by the fashion industry and it was good to learn that our commercially successful social enterprise business model has been highlighted as one to watch.
Elodie has been touring the world speaking to fashion designers and manufacturers from China to Paris, understanding their challenges, processes, ways of working and everything in between. From our conversation there were two major recurring themes:
1. The disconnect between the designers and their manufacturing partners.
2. The lack of transparency in the industry.
Creating clothing or accessories that can be repurposed or reused are slim to nil. There are very few examples of designers or brands creating product that can be actively returned into the supply chain (beyond being shredded and respun). If you know us then you’ll know we make a point of designing all of our products with the ability to either repurpose (for example all products with a zip are made to allow the entire zip to be replaced / removed and reused, rather than cut and damaged) – or we make a point of helping weavers and fabric designers by using beautifully designed cloth that has been destined for “waste” that is repurposed and turned into commercial product.
A lot of the challenges in the industry revolve around convenience and an historical approach rather than brands testing new business models. R&D in the fashion industry is limited to specialists and rarely on the business model.
Additionally there are big walls in the industry around I.P. and brand protection which are both commercial reasons and EGO… If the industry is to succeed in a way that does not destroy the earth, nor learn from each other’s mistakes we need to start collaborating on a much bigger scale.
Beyond government policy – which may have good intention, yet can take years to implement and police. There needs to be a very active national / nationwide / global industry body (not loads of associations that don’t speak to each other). And that body needs to have the power to implement and share industry standards and educational processes.
Back to the visit - it was lovely to meet Elodie and get to hear the amount of research and responsibility that’s been placed on the report she will produce next year. We look forward to its publication.