A closed loop fashion system requires scaling solutions now, not later


The fashion industry is damaging to the planet — it’s responsible for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. But there are companies — both large and small — trying to solve this problem.

Back in 2017, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation tapped on large brands such as Burberry, Gap and H&M to make fashion circular — ensuring that clothes are made from safe and renewable materials, establishing new business models to increase their use and developing systems that would enable more old clothes to be turned into new garments. Outside of this particular coalition of companies, other fashion businesses are attempting to make the industry more circular by using customizable digital technology, eliminating excess production and tracking the life cycle of products.

One of those companies is San Francisco-based clothing startup unspun, which produces sustainable jeans via a unique digital process: customers design their ideal pair of jeans, use their smartphones to takes a 3D scan of their bodies, then receive the custom-built denim in the mail.

“We think it’s really important to think of this from a closed loop and regenerative system, because humans are so used to going for the ‘next thing,'” said Beth Esponnette, co-founder of unspun, during part one of a discussion about scaling circular fashion during Circularity 20 in late August.

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