The fast fashion industry's environmental and social impacts have increased interest in sustainable alternatives. Circular fashion offers a sustainable solution by prioritising garment reuse, recycling, and longevity in circulation. However, shifting from fast fashion to a circular model can be challenging.
Let's explore what prevents us from transitioning to circular fashion and dive into five significant challenges.
- Cost Consideration
Many people face difficulties in adopting circular fashion habits because of the idea that sustainable clothing comes with a higher cost. This perception is somewhat accurate, as eco-friendly materials and ethical labour practices make them less appealing than fast fashion's affordability.
Brands like Zara and H&M have established themselves as key players in the fashion industry, influencing global prices through their production volume. Consumers are used to low prices and find it challenging to choose sustainable options over cheaper alternatives. The slogan “buy better and buy less” can help us understand the benefit of buying sustainable: investing in a quality garment that can be worn for years decreases the cost per wear.
There are several options to tackle the challenge at hand, for example:
- Shifting our values to favour long-term quality and sustainability over immediate cost savings.
- Investing in a capsule wardrobe that requires us to buy less overall.
- Resisting trends or learning how to repair.
- Availability and Accessibility
- Perceived Attractiveness
To address this, there's a need for:
- Investing some time in a repair workshop to learn new skills, making them a lifelong asset while reducing waste and feeling a sense of accomplishment and alignment with sustainable living principles.
- Hosting upcycling sessions with friends or community members, turning an individual act of sustainability into a fun, collaborative event.
- Organising or participating in clothing swap parties where you can exchange items you no longer use for something “new”. It's a fantastic way to refresh your wardrobe without contributing to the fast fashion cycle.
- Awareness and Education
- the importance of sustainability in fashion,
- the problems with fast fashion,
- the daily actions to make more sustainable choices.
Even though the shift from fast fashion to a circular fashion model may pose some difficulties, these are not impossible to overcome. The fast fashion industry can move towards a more sustainable model with a collective and genuine effort from consumers, brands, influencers, and policymakers.
As we navigate these challenges and take daily steps for change, a circular fashion future becomes increasingly within reach.