Working towards Fabric Circularity

  • by Vivienne Austin

The fashion industry's wasteful production cycles have accelerated in the era of ultra-fast fashion (often known as fashion on steroids), with clothing contributing to significant environmental damage. In particular, textile waste has reached alarming levels, with 11 million tons ending up in landfills in 2018 alone, a 170% increase from 2000. While all players in the supply chain should take responsibility for this issue, fashion brands are often overlooked. Many brands sell their products and leave the end-of-life responsibility for consumers to handle. 

Tentree’s Fabric Circularity


The sustainable brand Tentree is one of the only few brands out there changing this process. Last year, the brand launched an exciting project called Circularity by Tentree, which aims to establish a healthier relationship between products, consumers and the planet we share.

The Canadian brand's program encourages customers to send their used Tentree products back via mail, which life can then be extended in two ways: the two "R's of fashion" - resale and recycle - are at the core of this initiative. In return, customers receive credit for future purchases and the satisfaction of knowing they are contributing to the planet's well-being. 


The first scenario involves Tentree's products that are still in good condition, which can be resold to new owners. This allows clothing to be reused and keeps new materials from being produced. The Treet partnership features discounted, pre-owned Tentree products that are better for both your wallet and the environment.

In the second scenario, if the Tentree products are beyond repair, they will be passed along to their recycling partner, SuperCircle. They will break down and recycle the products into new materials that can become another article of clothing, padding, or insulation.


By extending the life of products, either in their original form or as an up-cycled product, waste is eliminated and the carbon footprint of the product is reduced by half. The brand prioritises earth-first materials, and the circular program is the next step in closing the loop for them. The goal is to see recycled tentree products incorporated into their newest releases in the future.

Plus, with each purchase with Tentree, ten trees are planted and the brand is also offering packages you can buy daily and monthly to offset your personal carbon footprint - you can check them out here.


Pangaia’s Fabric Circularity


Over the past couple of years, Pangaia has been hard at work releasing ts PLNT FIBER™ and FRUT FIBER™ blends, blends, fleece-like fabrics derived from plant and agricultural waste, which have the look and feel of cotton, without the cotton; partnering Kintra Fibers to help scale industry access to their compostable, synthetic fabric blends; and developing digital passports to promote transparency and inspire responsible consumer choices.


Their latest collaboration with RDD, the research arm of Valérius textile group, has produced The Reclaim Capsule, a line of sweatshirts and sweatpants made from recycled textile waste. Pangaia's use of mechanically recycled production offcuts spun with organic cotton to create a unique blend of reused fabrics, which results in garments with unique colours from the blend of reused fabrics, demonstrates their commitment to reducing waste in landfills and closing the loop in circularity.

Additionally, through their partnership with RDD, Pangaia is providing a platform for startups to test and commercialise their products and fabric innovations, expanding their vision to encourage widespread sustainable textile production.


Thousand Fell’s Circularity


The New York-based sneaker company is introducing a biodegradable line that aims to reduce the amount of synthetic wares that are dumped in landfills yearly, nearly 16.9 million tons according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s data in 2017.


Their collection offers unisex lace-ups and slip-ons, with uppers made of white vegan leather and soles made of recycled rubber. And to commit to circularity even further, the brand takes back old shoes to either be refurbished or broken down and reintroduced into the supply chain with the help of the recycling platform, SuperCicle.

Recycling is in the DNA of the brand and its founders Chloe Songer and Stuart Ahlum are really focused on making their processes better and better, the same business plan and strategy for their footwear brand that has managed to recycle over 3,000 pairs of their shoes per quarter.

Tentree, Thousand Fell and Pangaia's circularity projects are an excellent example of taking responsibility for the full life cycle of clothes. As they continue to lead the way in sustainable fashion practices, we're excited to see where these programmes will go. 


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