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What Is Closed Loop Fashion?

by: Rosie Dalton | 10 months ago | Features

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Closing the loop is a hot topic right now. But what does it actually mean –­ and how realistic is it, in the current fashion landscape? According to The Guardian, closed loop fashion refers to a “circular flow of resources.”

The title defines a hypothetical closed loop world as "a world in which all new clothes [are] made from existing clothing and textiles. Garments unsuitable for reuse would get broken down through an environmentally friendly process. Resources including polyester and cotton would be recaptured and turned back into yarn, fabric and then garments with no loss of quality.”

In a closed loop system, waste is essentially negated, and resources are infinitely re-circulated. In reality, Swedish consultancy firm Green Strategy says closed loop fashion refers to a system in which products are designed and manufactured to “circulate within society for as long as possible, with maximum usability, minimum adverse environmental impacts, minimum waste generation, and with the most efficient use of water, energy and other resources throughout their lifecycles.”

Examples of closed loop materials include those made by Lenzing, like Tencel and Modal. "Made with wood pulp from sustainable [Eucalyptus] tree farms, Tencel textiles are created through the use of nanotechnology in an award-winning closed-loop process that recovers or decomposes all solvents and emissions," The Eco Market explains.

Tencel is certified by the international Forest Stewardship Council, is 100% biodegradable, and 100% organic, since the basis is a natural raw material. This material is described as ‘closed loop’ because, within its production, more than 99% of the solvent is recovered, purified and reused — yielding very little by product and leading to less land and water usage.

True closed loop clothing doesn’t begin and end with materials or brands, though; it also involves the consumer and how we use products. Even Tencel clothes can only be truly closed loop if we use them in this way. That means wearing our clothes as much as possible, for as long as possible. And it means recycling or reusing clothes responsibly at the end of their garment life.

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