A new report defines and values the potential of the circular fashion industry in a bid to encourage more investment and build scale in a growing area of sustainability.
The potential value of fashion’s circular economy could be as much as $5 trillion, according to a new report by a group of high-profile industry and academic specialists.
The concept of a circular fashion industry is a fast-growing movement to reuse and recycle all materials, eliminating waste and pollution and regenerating the environment in a “circular model”. This rethink of the fundamentals of how the industry operates is gaining traction among sustainable fashion brands.
Now the potential market size has been estimated in the Circular Fashion Report, compiled by a group of industry and academics including PwC, sustainable consultancy Anthesis, Rödl & Partner law firm, Startupbootcamp, ESSEC Business School, Wageningen University & Research and circular fashion blockchain provider Lablaco.
The fashion industry is facing heavy pressure to reduce carbon emissions and waste, not least from a new generation of consumers who demand more environmental accountability. This has given added impetus to the argument for circularity.
Sustainability experts say the industry has only just started to explore its potential for product reuse and recycle. A vast quantity of product ends in landfill but is easily resellable. Improved recycling technologies are potentially transformative. The Circular Fashion Report argues for a product-centric, rather than consumer-centric approach, and digitising it. The goal: to make fashion traceable, transparent and more sustainable for businesses, consumers — and the planet.
The market value is made up of the existing $3 trillion global fashion industry, including the $6 billion virtual fitting room market, $16 billion 3D-printing market and $40 billion eco-fibre market, as well as the secondhand sector, including resale and clothing alterations.