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The Problem

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Fashion and circularity

  • 100 billion garments are produced every year, of which only 1% are recycled.

  • The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of GHG emissions, making it the third largest industry emitter in the world.

  • Fashion is the second largest user of water worldwide and is responsible for 20% of the wastewater in the world, and due to farming methods, 25% of the world’s pesticides are used.

  • Due to the fossil fuels used in the making of synthetic textiles (polyester, Nylon etc., make up 60% of textiles used in the fashion industry), the fashion industry is responsible for 35% of the world’s microplastics.

Mike Price

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The two streams of recycling are second-hand and recycled garments back to fibre.

Seconds hand market is growing, and today is worth around $71 billion, and by 2032 will be worth around $282 billion. If this trend continues, the second-hand fast fashion market could grow to double the size of the fast fashion market of today.

Second-hand fashion share in the market today is between 12% -15%.

Mike Price

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The recycling to fibre segment is still in the early stages of growth and has many challenges, as garments are not designed to be recycled.

New technologies are coming to the fore that could help with the recycling of Synthetic textiles back to yarn in a sustainable fashion. Still, the recycling of blended textiles is challenging.
A big challenge in recycling is that the recyclers have no data on the composition of the garments that they need to recycle. This leads to a labour-intensive and costly process.

The European Green Deal and the introduction of the Digital Product Passport (DPP) in 2024 onwards. This will force garment manufacturers to provide data such as country of origin ad the materials used within the garments. Together with RFID/NFC/QRcode technologies will speed up and improve garment recycling.

In essence, moving away from the linear fashion industry today to utilising a recycle, reuse, revamp, refuse, upcycle etc, is what is needed for the fashion industry to become circular. In this process, the minimization of waste and the reduction in the use of new raw materials and energy are key to its success.

Mike Price

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What can CID professionals do to improve and build towards creating a circular economy?  CID makes up a large percentage of the professionals contributing to the economy. Following are some insights from Deloitte.

  • The creative economy represents around 7% of total employment.

  • The creative economy is likely to be a key driver of economic growth over the long term.

  • The creative economy employs nearly 20 million people across the nine economies studied.

  • The creative economy is the part of the economy that tells our stories and the creative works we leave behind as a society are likely to define how future generations understand us.

  • Most people would welcome a world in which a larger share of the workforce is engaged with creative work.

  • To learn more about how the creative professional contributes to the economy read this article published by Deloitte : Deloitte UK Future Creative Economy Report

CID professionals will play multifaceted roles ranging from conscious creatives to clever system developers to process whizzes, all contributing to the complex inter connected disciplines adding to the notion of circular. 

From the actual fashion designer and how they design from the ground up, to the product & service designer and what considerations goes into developing products that stands the test of time, to the music producer and how pop cult affects common perception, to the innovators building the actual tools and machines that will enable a circular economy. 

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When presented with the figure above, CID is not immediately visible, yet plays crucial roles in all of the key areas presented. Not only is CID found in each key area, the nature of what CID is - which is to say, all that we experience in our environments not created solely by nature, is the product of CID, means that we can make the future we want to a large degree and are, have been, and will always be creating the tools and skills to do so.  

the digital backbone for the circular economy must be designed to support rethinking in al

The three areas conceptually align with CID. Value creation and Creativity, Value capturing and Innovation, and Value delivery and Design are easy paralels to spot, but on each point CID can enable the goals too. Creativity can give us the vision and solutions for Value creation, Innovation can deliver tools that enable Value creation and Design steers the way to produce better and add to Value creation. This is true for each of the other 5 points too.

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Nothing in nature lasts forever and eventually everything runs out. If humans can create the idealistic circular economy, we would accomplish more than the Gods. 

This is a bold claim, we know. But think about it. Everything deteriorates, from the stars, to the living, even at atomic level. The dream in this Dream Team Roundtable is big. It's a dream team for sure, but is circular design best left for dreamers?

Join us in December and find out. 

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The Team

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The Dream Team Roundtable

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