As an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, waste), the circular economy keeps resources in use for as long as possible, extracts the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of their use. While the fashion industry’s use of sustainable and recycled materials has grown in recent years, this is still closer to a linear model than a circular one.
To become circular, fundamental changes are needed in three key areas:
1. Product Design - good quality fashion designed to last and be of value for a long time.
2. Business Model - an alternative to overproduction and overconsumption practices that instead promotes slow and continuous product use.
3. Technology - new manufacturing processes and infrastructure innovations are needed to allow fashion products to be regenerated into new materials again and again.
At AFORE AFTER we are working towards a more responsible, less wasteful, circular system which creates fashion to be looked after, valued, worn and kept in use for the longest possible time. During our extensive research, we have considered the way clothing is designed, what materials are used, how it's manufactured, how it's transported, how quickly we are consuming and discarding our clothes, how we look after our clothes, and what happens when we dispose of them.
AFORE AFTER Circular Product Design
The circularity process begins for us at the first stage of design. While using the best sustainable and low-impact materials, our products are carefully designed to be versatile, wearable pieces with long-lasting, continuous value. We are not churning out single-use products to be sold once for one generation of consumer. We aim to design out waste where possible, and we try to value unavoidable waste as an asset.
AFORE AFTER Circular Business Model
We not only design and produce our garments responsibly, but we will also assure they can be used and effectively circulated in their most valuable form for as long as possible, before closing the loop of the entire product lifecycle once they can't be worn anymore. This will be achieved by offering an online resale service from our website called Full Circle, and will allow you to minimize the environmental impact of your fashion choices.
AFORE AFTER Circular Technology
Our hope is that our products can be manufactured to be remade into new designs in the future, but currently the necessary solutions to turn old fabrics and materials into new isn't yet commercially available to us. We are watching the industry closely and discovering exciting new developments that are still undergoing research, trial and commercialisation. We’d like to explore partnerships in new technologies and we look forward to making bigger and better changes as these innovations and processes become accessible.
We are not perfect!
Looking at our economy illustration, we would say we’re somewhere between sustainable fashion and circular fashion at launch. But we won't stop researching, testing and asking awkward questions until we find answers and better solutions. We will maintain focus on where our product comes from (AFORE), and what its future will be (AFTER), to continue to make progress as a circular fashion brand.
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