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Asos releases circular design guidebook with Centre for Sustainable Fashion

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: courtesy of Asos

Online fashion retailer Asos and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion have released the Asos Circular Design Guidebook to help designers, students and fashion brands design and create fashion products that support the circular economy.

The 112-page interactive resource is the latest element of a multi-year collaboration between Asos and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), a research centre based at London College of Fashion, part of University of the Arts London, which started in 2008. Since the start of the collaboration, all Asos designers and relevant commercial teams have received education on circular design developed by CSF and the online retailer also launched its first proof-of-concept for circular design, the Asos Design Circular collection in September 2020.

The guidebook has been designed to support designers, brands, and students in transitioning to circular design and features a detailed breakdown of Asos’ nine circular design strategies, developed through consultation with CSF and input from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation through its participation in its Make Fashion Circular Initiative.

The nine strategies are: Innovative materials, recycled materials, minimised waste, zero waste, remanufacture/upcycling, durability, versatility, mono-materiality, and disassembly.

Each of these strategies can help designers achieve the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s vision of a circular economy for fashion, where products are made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs, are used more, and are made to be made again, explains Asos.

Asos and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion drive innovation in circular design with new guidebook

The guidebook includes detail on each strategy and how it can be applied in practice by brands and designers, alongside a zero-waste cutting guide to create garments without wasting materials during the pattern cutting process, and information on choosing suitable materials for circular design products.

There are also details on recycling techniques currently offered by the fashion industry, which designers can use to inform their design choices, and examples of best practices in circular design, as part of a broader effort to encourage a pre-competitive approach to circular design within the sector.

Image: courtesy of Asos

Simon Platts, responsible sourcing director at Asos, said in a statement: “Launching this guidebook together with CSF means we can help accelerate the transition to circular design across the entire fashion industry, critical to achieving the sustainability we all want to see. This in-depth, accessible and easy-to-use resource should prove invaluable to other brands, designers and students looking to implement circular design in practice and marks the next step in our journey to Be More Circular through Fashion with Integrity.”

Professor Dilys Williams, director at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, added: “This guide builds on a long-term partnership between Asos and Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, aiming to change the direction of fashion. The aims are bold and ambitious, it’s about valuing nature – our only source of wealth – and making that economically viable and valuable.

“We have a good start: nature is the most experienced, most talented designer we can learn from and each one of us is a part of nature, so for us to thrive, we must ensure that nature thrives. Designing and developing product uses skills, including ingenuity and imagination, to improve a situation, but unless it improves life, it isn’t good design. By making our starting point good design we harness the ability to create meaningful change in the industry.”

Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Circular Fashion
Sustainable Fashion