**Fashion Sustainability: Transitioning to a Circular Model for Fast Fashion and High Fashion Operations**
Fashion’s environmental impact is projected to increase by 60% in the next decade if we continue with the current business model. However, there are two companies, one based in Kenya and the other in the UK, that are actively working towards implementing circularity in both the fast fashion and high fashion sectors.
As alarming as it may sound, approximately $460 billion worth of wearable clothing is discarded annually worldwide. To address this issue, we need sustainable solutions that encompass the entire lifecycle of garments.
One of these companies, Artisan Fashion, was established in 2009 through the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative. They specialize in creating bags, accessories, and apparel for renowned luxury brands such as Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood. By collaborating with artisans from various communities, Artisan Fashion not only provides employment opportunities but also contributes to economic development.
In a similar vein, the Fashion Pact, a collective of 75 CEOs, has set ambitious goals for their respective companies, including a target of 25% low climate impact raw materials by 2025, and the elimination of problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging by 2030. However, the question that begs attention is that of financial sustainability.
Artisan Fashion recently joined forces with Converte, a fashion start-up focused on transforming the linear business model prevailing in most fashion brands into a circular one by tackling the issue of waste. This approach involves deconstructing the strengths of fast fashion, such as its affordability and democratization, while actively engaging with waste as a raw material.
Sustainable fashion, although exhilarating, often comes with a hefty price tag. This seemingly limits the choice for Gen-Zers, who have been disempowered due to this financial barrier. Converte seeks to bridge this gap by offering upcycled bandeaus made from the back seam of men’s shirts at a comparable price, ensuring sustainability is not just a retrofit but the foundation on which their entire ethos and economy is built.
Ultimately, their approach encompasses three layers of profitability: environmental profit, social profit, and, finally, financial profit.
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Fashion’s environmental footprint is expected to grow 60% over the next ten years, unless we can change the fashion business model. Two companies, based in Kenya and the UK, are working to bring circularity to the way both fast fashion and high fashion operates.
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