ROOT CAUSE #3: A LINEAR SYSTEM
With clothes getting so cheap, we stopped to care much about the rate that we dispose of them, which has created a problem: textile waste. In our data section, we talk extensively about this issue. We often ponder about the word waste – waste did not exist before humans (and until very recently in the history of the planet), because in nature there’s no waste, other beings use everything that is no longer living. But about a century ago we humans started creating waste at an unprecedented pace, throwing “away” things on the planet that would not biodegrade or be reused in any way. And so rubbish started piling up.
This is important because in many countries (one of them being the UK) textile waste is the fastest expanding category of waste. We’re producing more and more clothes that we don’t need, and which we buy and throw away at an unprecedented rate, and because of economies of scale brands are producing excess clothes that they never get to sell and end up in landfill before ever being used.
With the world population growing exponentially and planetary boundaries already being severely challenged, we need to move away from our current model of production and consumption and embrace a circular model where we suppress waste. Interestingly, the answer to doing so doesn't lie in the end-of-life of a product, but in the design process. And excitingly, the fashion industry is a perfect testing ground for figuring out how to roll out circular models at scale.
That's what we're doing at Trace Collective, through our for life repair guarantee, buy back scheme and rental program - piloting new models for circularity in the fashion industry.