Circular Fashion- History & Trends

Circular Fashion- History & Trends

The problems of clothing waste and overproduction can be greatly alleviated through the adoption of circular fashion practices. There are a lot of raw materials and trash produced by the current linear “take, make, waste” model. This is something the fashion industry‘s transition to a circular economy can fix. However, what sparked this, and how is it doing now? Let’s dig deep into the history and current trends.

Circular Fashion- Overview

Circular fashion only emerged in 2014 and has rapidly become the fashion’s most embraced concept. The industry is one in which waste and pollution are made out, and products and materials are kept in use longer, which includes reusing and recycling and where natural systems are recreated. Currently, the fashion industry is based on a linear model where resources are created from the planet, turned into products, and then disposed of when they are no longer needed. Some might be reused and recycled way. 

Circular Fashion: Designing Out Waste

New textiles are used to make most fashion items, which are then sold, worn, discarded, and shipped. Eco-head Age’s of sustainable fashion and textiles, Charlotte Tuner, claims that “circular fashion” entails “designing waste.” It is possible to design and manufacture products that degrade in a natural way, without leaving any harmful residue, and that can be dismantled and reassembled without suffering any degradation in function or appearance. The idea is to reduce the number of useful resources, materials, and finished goods that are thrown away.

Circular Fashion- History

Circular fashion is new but stems from the phrase circular economy. Let’s learn more about circular history.

Circular Economy

In his book published in 1966, Kenneth E. Boulding argues that we should be operating in a “cyclical” system of production that relies on a continuous flow of raw materials and energy. China started to use this idea in its industrial and environmental policies at the beginning of the 2000s to make them more focused on resources, production, waste, use, and the whole life cycle. The concept spread throughout Europe and the Americas thanks in large part to the efforts of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. In 2014, the European Union unveiled its vision of the circular economy; in 2020, it launched a New Circular Economy Action Plan, which lays out the steps needed to achieve a climate-neutral, competitive economy in which consumers have greater agency. Even so, circular fashion is a relatively recent development, having emerged only in 2014.

Who Coined the Term Circular Fashion?

In June 2014, Anna Brismar, the founder of the consultancy firm Green Strategy, coined the term “circular fashion” during an early project meeting in preparation for a sustainable fashion event in central Stockholm. Circular Fashion – Show & Talk 2014 was the name given to this event later on. Fast fashion had become unpopular among consumers since the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed more than a thousand people. In addition to highlighting the importance of consumers in advocating for better standards and in fast-tracking change, this tragedy, along with the last few years particularly bringing to light some questionable methods in the industry—including devastating environmental, human, and animal impacts—has also highlighted the importance of consumers.

Circular Fashion- Trends

These are the most popular trends in circular fashion

Celebrities Wearing Vintage 

Here you get to see the best vintage Red -Carpet moments from your favorite celebrities. 

Zendaya: The NAACP Image Awards, February 2022

Zendaya, who was nominated for best actress in a film at the NAACP Image Awards in February 2022, wore a variety of outfits to the ceremony. She was a vision in the stunning Balmain gown from 1956, exuding timeless elegance and demonstrating the very essence of timelessness and longevity.

Meghan Markle in New York 2019

At her New York City bridal shower, the Duchess of Sussex wore a black Courrèges Haute Couture coat made of matelassé silk from around 1965, purchased from William Vintage. She was seen leaving the shower area of The Mark Hotel while wearing the black quilted jacket.

Adwoa Aboah: GQ Men of The Year Awards, 2019

At the men of the year awards at GQ in 2019, this supper model wore a Tom Ford for Gucci, green sequined, asymmetric dress from 2004 to this event, where she presented Stormzy with the Haig club Solo Artist Awards.

Kaitlyn Dever

At the Vanity Fair and Lancôme Women in Hollywood celebration, the Booksmart star wore a 1960 Couture gown from Shrimpton Couture by Christian Dior to this event in Hollywood. 

Kendall Jenner 

At the 2020 LOVE LFW party, Kendle Jenner dressed in a Jean Paul Gaultier two-piece from 1994. 

Kim Kardashian

During the Vanity Fair Oscars After Party in 2020, Kim Kardashian, a makeup mogul, dressed in an Alexander McQueen dress.

Jennifer Aniston 

In the 2020’s SAG Awards, this star dressed in a vintage Christian Dior by Joh Galliano silk biased cut dress when picking up her Best Actress in a Drama Series award. The lovely dress she wore during her public reunion with her ex-husband Brad Pitt is one of her collections. When talking to Entertainment Tonight, the actress termed this vintage dress an investment. 

Gwyneth Paltrow at the 71st Emmy Awards in 2019 

Gwyneth Paltrow, an actress and businesswoman wore a monochromatic Haute Couture Valentino dress from 1963 to award Jodie Comer, the best lead actress in a drama series. 

Vintage stores such as House of Vintage and Serotonin Vintage based in London are the best place to spend some hours and have the benefit of trying these items and feeling the fabric before buying them. There are also vintage and second-hand online stores where you can purchase items. Before finding these stores, most people would have never considered buying vintage or second-hand items. And this is because they either never thought it was meant for them due to their style and aesthetic, or they just had misconceptions regarding second-hand items.

How to Engage in Circular Fashion

Are you familiar with the maxim “reduce, reuse, recycle?” A good place to begin engaging in circulation fashion is by reducing the number of items you need to buy. You do not have to buy a brand-new outfit every Friday night, for instance. Sales of fashion accessories have reached an all-time high of 114 billion since 2000. It’s important to buy less and dig up old favorites to slow the fast fashion trend and cut down on overproduction through reusing. What could be better than wearing or using something you already own when you make the conscious decision to shop less extensively?

Buy Second-Hand and Vintage 

While years of over-creation and under-wearing is significantly terrible news, the thing is that there are several clothes out there that need to be re-homed, and this is the recycling part. Did you know there are as many ways to purchase preloved garments as there are items to buy? For starters, you can opt for charity shops because you are killing two birds with one stone. You will be keeping clothes from landfill and giving money to charity. These are your cheapest option and are ideal for offering a wide range of sizing.

Use Retail Sites 

Suppose the rental becomes too brief, you should go for second-hand. However, you will not need only to buy but add to the circular ecosystem by purchasing. The second-hand market is expected to double come 2023. A pre-owned fashion item is bought every second on Amazon, eBay, and other retail sites, and you can get it in several ways. Selling a thing that no longer fits your style or body ensures that the item can live a double life in a loving home. 

Purchase from Circular Fashion Brands 

Size, time restrictions, and style can hinder people from purchasing preloved items, and even the UK fashion rental sector leaves more to be desired on true inclusivity. Also, there is an argument that we should support creativity through new designs. But there are other brands out there that promote circular fashion. MaisonCléo, AVAVAV, and Rave Review are young brands that use dead stock and leftover materials for their items. And this, therefore, extends the life of unwanted or over-produced fabrics that might have been disposed of. Some luxury brands like Alexander McQueen are taking part and want to re-engineer their practices to benefit others. The brand was now redirecting its surplus materials to UK-based fashion schools. 

Select Fabrics Wisely 

Suppose some fashion brands are out of reach ( maybe generally more expensive than high-street buying), considering the material makeup of any purchase can help you participate circularly. When choosing clothes and accessories, it is essential to consider what will happen to them at the end of their usable life. For instance, do they have high-quality material and production techniques to enable passing them to someone else? Spend time to learn if the item will end up in a landfill or not because this will not harm the land it will be returned to. 

Consider Swapping 

You can choose to swap with friends or colleagues or visit a pre-organized event hosted by Stories Behind Things. These events prefer cloth switching. Hosting this series aims to replace shopping, providing an evaluated and curated experience where you will switch clothes with branded, second-hand, and vintage donations. This is the future and a natural fashion progression into the sharing economy. Not only does this bring the fun element back into fashion, but it also provides creative freedom to try pieces you have never purchased. 

What Are the Best Instagram Circular Fashion Shops? Easy Ways to Get Second-Hand Items 

Circular fashion is increasing, and several stores have been introduced to help you quickly get vintage or second-hand items. Here are the best Instagram vintage shops;

Retold Vintage 

Most customers enjoy buying second-hand clothing at Retold. The shop was created to make vintage accessible, inspire many people, and get them to switch from fast fashion. 


The brand was founded by Georgie Hyatt and is a rental service. The Co-founder elaborates on the value of renting in the sustainable and circular fashion ecosystem. He also explains the importance of rental to the future of fashion alongside second-hand and sustainable brands. According to Georgie Hyatt, the ideal future wardrobe should have two-thirds of well-made and vintage items, and one-third should be rented. 

There are several options to choose from if you want to rent out your clothes, including Harr, By Rotation, Cocoon, and Rotary. It is critical to note that rental fashion does not answer the question of sustainability. Rental fashion is not the best solution since dry cleaning and transportation are involved. Also, the items might not be recycled or reused when they are no longer rented. However, there is still a place for rental fashion at Rotary. 

Renting with this brand is sustainable. Delivery services are carbon-neutral, biodegradable, and recycled packaging and they also use wet-wash, which is eco-friendly for louder items—renting with Rotary answers your desires for your wardrobe newness because you can still express yourself through a new style, trend, and brands without having to purchase or design waste. 

The Bottom Line 

The fashion industry would benefit greatly from a more circular approach. They need to give some consideration to adopting circular designs into their production procedures. Brands can promote sustainable practices in the fashion industry by engaging in activities such as reselling previously worn items, switching to more sustainable and non-hazardous materials, or developing innovative ways to recycle old garments. Value in the form of cost reduction and new revenue streams is unlocked by this innovative business model for the fashion industry and its customers. Modern culture is rapidly adopting novel methods of wearing clothes, creating an opportunity for any company that can respond quickly.

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Circular Fashion- History & Trends Learn about the background and development of circular fashion, as well as the current trends and celebrity advocates for this type of clothing.
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