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What is circular fashion?

13 Apr 2022

what is circular fashion

Fashion loves a buzz word and one you’ve probably come across a few times is “circular economy”. Despite it only being around since 2014, it’s something that is fast becoming part of marketing campaigns and driving conversations in the design room.

A circular economy is one where waste is repurposed into new products. The idea means that we never need to send anything to landfill, recycling and repurposing things again and again and again. In a circular shape, get it?

It goes something like this:


The goal is to design out waste, completely.

While you’re here, why don’t you get the low down on responsible recycling?



We have a few versions of the circular fashion economy in fashion. Traditionally, it's meant using other objects and turning them into fabrics through mechanical recycling, so unwanted clothes made from cotton might be broken down and recreated into new cotton clothes, and the loop can go on and on. 

Recently we’ve seen a whole new kind of recycling enter the scene, called chemical recycling. This system was born from more fashion brands using mixed fabrics that blended natural and manmade materials together. Lots of fast fashion brands use these material blends because they are cheaper to produce, and durable. The downside is that they were traditionally difficult to recycle into new materials, because the fibres react in different ways.

Chemical recycling allows us to split the fibres from unwanted clothes into their different fibres so that we can create new materials, and turn those into new clothes.

This is the sciency stuff of the future but it's going to completely change the way we produce clothes, and allow us to create far more closed loop systems (meaning not using any new materials, or wasting anything).

Reskinned are huge advocates for both mechanical and chemical recycling, and we’re excited to see how these processes grow and develop in the near future.

We invest in those who are already able to offer the most exciting new processes in recycling and production and are driving research forward to be able to offer this across a multitude of materials.


Fashion has reached levels of hyper-speed, with 92 million tons of clothes going to landfill, and still only 1% (possibly even less) of recyclable textiles ending up actually getting recycled.

Because chemical recycling is a process still being developed, there aren’t tons of places that offer it, and with the increased demand of people buying and throwing away their clothes, it’s going to take a few years for everything to catch up.

We don’t shy away from a challenge over here at Reskinned, so we’re always looking for solutions, and working with companies that are offering the best of the best when it comes to recycling for clothes, shoes and accessories.


The demand for raw materials is expected to triple by 2050 (WRAP).

For every item of clothing made, lots of intensive resources have gone into it. From the water used for the crop that may become the materials, to the energy used to produce the fabric, to the chemicals and dyes that may pollute water systems in the product development process.

SO much energy goes into one item.

And it's not sustainable. Fashion has a big part to play in the journey to reducing global temperatures and reducing climate change, and the environmental impact of our clothes. The quicker we can move towards a new system celebrating a circular economy, the less pressure we put on natural resources and the less the risk of waste.


Reskinned wants more clothes to be made out of materials already available.

That's why we encourage the use of mechanical and chemical recycling wherever possible, and commit to sending nothing we receive to landfill, no matter how challenging it is to recycle.

It's not easy stuff. It involves a lot of time and careful sorting of items by hand in our warehouse. We have to remove anything like buttons or zips from clothes before they're ready for recycling, and use our RFID identification machine (aka. fabric identifying robot scanner) to make sure we’re choosing the right process for the right fabric.

We also opt for reuse over recycling, always. We will only recycle something if it's completely at the end of its life and can't be resold, repurposed or upcycled.

circular fashion


Keep clothes in existence for as long as possible. 

That means caring for them and passing them on if you're not reaching for them anymore. If they're at the end of their life or you haven't got a friend who wants to take them off your hands, send them to us via one of our takeback partnerships, and we’ll handle the rest.

We will find the right home for anything that comes our way.

Whatever you do, don't put clothes in the bin.

Shop our range of pre-loved favourites.

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