Hello it’s Lidia writing from Madrid!
I thought it would be interesting for this week's post to follow on from last week and consider a few companies that are putting circular economy principles in practice. As I said last week, it is one thing to talk about how we should be implementing circular economy principles and it’s another thing to put this in action, this is a challenging process. However, there are some firms which are not only managing this but doing it in a creative and ground-breaking way.
When I was reading into this topic I came across an article in Refinery 29 that left me surprised. According to a study carried out by Marks and Spencer (2016) there are up to 3.6 billion clothes left unworn in UK wardrobes - 57 per person - 16 items are only worn once on average and 11 still have the tags on. These companies’ and others that used recycled inputs, offer services to dispose of their items… present a solution for this problem. They challenge the fast fashion world and excessiveness that we are used to and can end up buying into. They present an efficient and conscious way of consumption.
Wear the Walk - London
Wear the Walk is a London boutique which is practicing an interesting approach to retail. Its online fashion platform offers clothes from emerging designers' collections, designers whose clothes are made thoughtfully and ethically. Thereby acting as an alternative to the fast fashion industry.
It is the company's renting system that makes it a great example of the circular economy model in practice. Clients can pick the items they want in the website and rent them, either as a one-time rental for 7 days or customers can subscribe (subscriptions start at £60 a month). It is not only the different shopping experience that makes this firm remarkable but the idea it represents. It is challenging the traditional way in which the fashion industry works and the mentality that we need to buy/change clothes every time there’s a new collection. Instead its hinting at a wider idea, not only promoting sustainability but pushing forward the fact that our clothes are not disposable, they are worth more than a two time use or a collection’s time. Wear the Walk is a creative way to access awesome clothes and frees customers from what I see as the curse of the fast fashion industry of un-sustainable, mindless and unethical shopping.
The circular economy is in fashion...
This business concept is nothing new we are seeing it in some apps such as Depop which give clothes (as well as other items) a second live, putting them back into the economy. Another clothing company that engages with a similar practice to Wear the Walk is MUD jeans. It doesn’t offer exactly the same rental service but it works with a similar idea. MUD jeans have a different way of conceptualizing ownership. At MUD jeans they have a leasing system their lease a jean model. They describe it as a ‘guilt-free solution for conscious people that have a desire for newness’. It allows you to buy a pair of jeans by paying a monthly subscription and after one year you can opt for changing your jeans for another pair. If you purchase the jeans you can also return them when you feel like you don’t want them anymore and get 10 Euros off your next pair of MUD jeans.
It is these business practices that are getting the circular economy off the ground. Looking beyond a linear production and extending the life time of products!
There is still a long way to go but these are all encouraging prospects and it is exciting and motivating to see larger corporations engage in these practices. Let it be supermarkets such as Tesco, Morissons, Sainsbury… that offer a service to recycle plastic bags or as I have recently seen in Spain’s largest department store, El Corte Ingles, which ran a campaign to collect old denim and recycled it in their products!
Be For Change is already taking part in the circular economy by making bags from upcycled materials and is committing further by offering a repairing circular. That said, we are looking to implement further circular economy principles into our company and collaborate with others in the creation of other creative and innovative solutions!
As I said, all these changes are exciting and encouraging. Hopefully more businesses can be inspired by these examples and change towards a circular business model!