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Zara, ASOS, H&M, and a bunch of other major brands have made a commitment to up their sustainability


Zara, ASOS, and H&M have made a commitment to up their sustainability by 2020
(Picture: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Under mounting pressure to do what we all can to stop destroying the planet, fashion brands are starting to take action.

On Thursday 64 companies including ASOS, H&M, Zara, Target, and Kering, committed to putting more sustainable practices into play by 2020, as part of the effort by the Global Fashion Alliance to up fashion’s focus on circular production.

What this will actually mean in action is yet to be seen. Each company has submitted their own individual targets for ‘sustainable design, garment collection, repurposing, and the use of recycled textiles by 2020, so it’s possible that some brands may do more than others.

Adidas, for example, will increase its collection of used clothing, while ASOS will train their design team in circular design and get rid of any nonrecyclable materials.

WWD reports that while the Global Fashion Alliance made recommendations, it was up to each company to create their own targets. They’ll be required to update GFA on how they’re doing each year, and GFA will publish a progress report in May.

Zara, ASOS, and H&M have made a commitment to up their sustainability by 2020
(Picture: Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg)

That means that any of the brands who don’t meet their targets will be named and shamed. Interesting.

Eva Krause, the chief executive officer of GFA, told WWD: ‘We have now reviewed all 143 of the targets, and although the focus areas and levels of engagement vary from company to company, they all share a common feature by taking steps to transition to a circular fashion industry.

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‘I find that very encouraging.’

As do we, Eva. Any progress is brilliant – although we hope that brands will step up and do as much as they can to boost sustainability rather than trying to get away with the bare minimum.

What is circular fashion?

Circular fashion is a fairly new term (first used back in 2014, apparently) that describes clothing that’s sustainable.

This means clothing that can be taken apart and turned into something else, clothing that can be passed on instead of being chucked away, clothing that’s made of biodegradable materials, and clothing that can be recycled.

Essentially, it’s about creating a circular path for any clothing that’s made, so that rather than purchase of an item being an end point, it’s just a stop on the clothing item’s journey.

If a clothing item isn’t recyclable, won’t last long enough to be given away, or is made out of materials that aren’t great for the environment, it’s not circular fashion.

If there’s a way to reuse clothing, pass it on, or recycle it, it’s circular fashion.

A commitment to circular fashion comes from both brands and buyers. Brands can make sure to use high quality materials that won’t get dumped, while consumers can choose to skip fast fashion and purchase things they intend to wear forever, only use organic and non-toxic products, and choose items made with organic or recycled materials.

A consumer with a dedication to circular fashion won’t throw out clothes once they’re fed up of them. They’ll redesign them or donate them to someone else, and they’re up for buying vintage and second hand pieces rather than choosing newly produced things.

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