Product, Service & Design Innovation
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Fashion Edges Ever Closer to Circularity

Prada's new Nat Geo series highlights its Re-Nylon line; while the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign Guidelines aim to ensure jeans are made better for the environment and the health of garment workers.

Web series from Prada, Nat Geo shows ‘What We Carry’ re responsible consumption around the world

Image credit: Prada

In June, luxury fashion brand Prada announced its commitment to using only recycled nylon by 2021. It has started making good on its promise with its new line of Re-Nylon bags, made from Aquafil’s upcycled ECONYL® fabric — and is sharing the story of its sourcing via a new web series, co-produced with National Geographic and spanning five continents, which shows viewers the path toward establishing a cyclical, renewable supply chain.

“What We Carry” features Prada reporters, global activists/influencers and Nat Geo explorers. In the first episode, actor and activist Bonnie Wright and creative conservationist Asher Jay explore an Aquafil carpet-recycling factory in Phoenix, Arizona, and witness a circular economy in action:

The second episode takes South Sudanese-Australian model and Prada reporter Adut Akech Bior, and National Geographic Explorer and Freshwater Conservationist Joe Cutler, to Cameroon’s Lake Ossa. One of the country’s largest lakes, Ossa provides the surrounding communities with water while serving as a natural habitat for numerous species. Over the years, however, hundreds of discarded fishing nets and other waste have led to a clogged ecosystem. Now, the neighboring communities are working with Net-Works to recover the nets from Lake Ossa to be resold, recycled, de-polymerized, and transformed into new ECONYL nylon for Prada’s Re-Nylon bag collection.

Stay tuned for more episodes throughout the summer.


Make Fashion Circular out to redesign jeans

Image credit: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

After partnering with New York City earlier this year to help save the metropolis’ clothes from languishing in landfills, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative is now out to transform the way jeans are produced — by cutting out waste, pollution and the use of harmful practices

The new Jeans Redesign Guidelines set out minimum requirements for brands and manufacturers on garment durability, material health, recyclability and traceability. Based on circular principles, the guidelines will work to ensure that next-generations jeans last longer, can easily be recycled, and are made in a way that is better for the environment and the health of garment workers. The Jeans Redesign brought together more than 40 denim experts from academia, brands, retailers, manufacturers, collectors, sorters, and NGOs, to develop the Guidelines.

Confirmed participants to date include Arvind Limited, Bestseller (through the Vero Moda brand), Boyish Jeans, C&A, GAP, Hirdaramani, H&M Group (through the H&M and Weekday brands), HNST, Kipas, Lee®, Mud Jeans, OUTERKNOWN, Reformation, Sai-Tex, Tommy Hilfiger. The Guidelines have been endorsed by clothing collectors and recyclers Bank and Vogue, Circular Systems, EVRNU, HKRITA, I:CO, Infinited Fiber Company, Lenzing, Recover, re:newcell, Texaid, Tyton Biosciences LLC, Wolkat and [Worn Again](/read/product-service-design-innovation/worn-again-joins-forces-with-h-m-kering-to-create-circular-resource-model-for-textiles They have also been endorsed by the NGOs Fashion Revolution and Textile Exchange.

The Guidelines build on existing efforts to improve jeans production, including the open-source guide created following C&A and Fashion for Good’s joint initiative to develop C2C Gold Certified™ jeans. The Jeans Redesign will drive others to join the project and produce jeans in line with the Guidelines at scale. The first pairs of the redesigned jeans will be on sale in 2020.

"The way we produce jeans is causing huge problems with waste and pollution, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By working together, we can create jeans that last longer, that can be remade into new jeans at the end of their use, and are made in ways which are better for the environment and the people that make them,” said Francois Souchet, Lead at Make Fashion Circular. “This is just the start. Over time we will continue to drive momentum towards a thriving fashion industry, based on the principles of a circular economy."

The Guidelines

The respect of the health, safety, and rights of people involved in all parts of the fashion industry is a prerequisite, along with working conditions improvement in manufacturing globally. Beyond this, the Guidelines provide minimum requirements for jeans on durability, material health, recyclability and traceability:

Durability

  • Jeans should withstand a minimum of 30 home laundries, while still meeting the minimum quality requirements of the brands

  • Garments should include labels with clear information on product care

Material Health

  • Jeans should be produced using cellulose fibers from regenerative, organic or transitional farming methods

  • Jeans should be free of hazardous chemicals and conventional electroplating. Stone finishing, potassium permanganate and sandblasting are prohibited

Recyclability

  • Jeans should be made with a minimum of 98 percent cellulose fibers (by weight)

  • Metal rivets should be designed out, or reduced to a minimum

  • Any additional material added to the jeans should be easy to disassemble

Traceability

  • Information that confirms each element of the Guideline requirements has been met should be made easily available

  • Organizations that meet the requirements will be granted permission to use the Jeans Redesign Logo on jeans produced in line with the Guidelines

  • Jeans Redesign Logo use will be reassessed annually, based on compliance with reporting requirements

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