Online fashion retailer has trained its designers in making its clothing and jewellery more sustainable, recyclable and reusable
Online fashion retailer ASOS has launched a new "circular collection" which it claims use zero waste designs and recycled materials to produce a range of "trend-led" clothing and accessories, it announced yesterday.
The collection uses eight "circularity principles", and to be part of the collection each item must adhere to at least two, the firm said. These include using zero waste designs that aim to ensure clothes are cut from fabric in the most efficient way possible, as well as selecing recycled materials and ensuring the clothes themselves are durable and versatile to reduce wear and tear.
Other principles unvieiled by the firm include making items from a single recyclable material and which are designed for easy disassembly in order to further assist and encourage greener habits among consumers. Where possible, the company is also encourang the use 'upcycle' of techniques that reuse old products to create "something new".
Vanessa Spence, head of design at ASOS, said the company had been on an "incredible journey" in drawing up the collection, working closely with suppliers to apply the new circular design principles. "What this collection shows is that you don't need to make a choice between the circular economy and fashion, and that you can make sustainable products without compromising on design or on price," she said.
The collection features a range of clothes and accesories for both men and women, ranging from t-shirts, denim items and cargo pants, to bumbags, cardigans, tailoring and jewellery, according to ASOS.
It follows ASOS's 2018 commitment to skill up all of its design team towards circular, sustainable techniques and ideas by 2020, and the firm has since launched an educational programme with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, at the University of the Arts in London. The firm is also a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Make Fashion Circular initiative, which drives collaboration within the industry "to create a textiles economy fit for the 21st century".
It comes amid growing concern over the impacts of so-called 'fast fashion' on the planet, with growing outcry over the production of cheap clothes made using unsustainable techniques, chemicals and processes which are challenging to recycle, and which too often quickly end up being discarded by consumers.
ASOS's new circular range hasn't satisified some critics of the company, however. Writing in the Independent yesterday, sustainable fashion journalist and lecturer Sophie Benson raised concerns that only two of the firm's new eight ciruclar design principles needed to be met in order for an item to qualify for the collection, arguing that every one of the principles is equally important as each of the foundations of the circular economy "work in tandem with each other". She also criticised a lack of clarity from ASOS as to where and how returned clothes for recycling from consumers are dealth with.
"To claim true circularity and sustainability, ASOS must either support or create their own take back system, taking responsibility for the millions of garments they produce, or significantly scale back production so as to lessen the waste they ultimately create," she wrote. "Creating one small collection that cherry picks circular principles is akin to putting a plaster on a broken leg; a tokenistic move that doesn't solve the issue in hand."
Nevertheless, she welcomed the firm's progress on the issue - particularly with regards to designer training - as a "step forward that other brands would do well to roll out".
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