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Apparel brands Asket and Lindex are the first of four brands to join Circle Economy’s Switching Gear project in order to explore circular business models and connect with a global network of rental and recommerce experts.
“Circular business models such as recommerce and rental offer commercial opportunities for brands to innovate their business model while optimising the useful life of clothes to their full potential and reducing the overall impact of the industry. With Switching Gear, we aim to accelerate these business models in the apparel industry by providing brands with the expertise they need and connecting them with the right partners to successfully launch a pilot by 2021.” says Gwen Cunningham, Circle Textiles Programme Lead.
In partnership with Fashion for Good, the project has also established the Switching Gear Enabling Network; a network of over 30 rental and recommerce experts and service providers to support Asket, Lindex and other participating brands that join in their journey to develop and pilot a new business model. Members of the network include: ThredUP, RePack, Eileen Fisher, Style Lend, Lizee and The Renewal Workshop.
After tackling durability, traceability and garment care, Asket takes another exciting step towards sustainability
The Swedish menswear brand Asket is on a mission to rewrite the rules of the whole fashion system and focus on putting care back into apparel – addressing how clothes are made, marketed and consumed. Having stepped out of seasonal collections that only fuel fast-consumption habits, the start-up instead introduced a single permanent collection of zero-compromise garments. Every piece is in the collection is marked with its traceability journey, breaking down the garment into its raw components and tracing it back to their origin. They also offer stain, repair and care guides, aimed at getting people to better care for their garments.
“We want to continue to lead by example and see that a recommerce or rental business model would allow us to take our mission to change the way we consume clothes and reduce waste even further. Joining Switching Gear will fast track our thinking, and we are excited for the collaboration opportunities that come with the Switching Gear Enabling Network.” – August Bard-Bringeus, Co-founder at Asket
Lindex, following up on sustainability promise
Back in April, Swedish fashion retailer Lindex launched a sustainability promise that positioned climate action, a circular business approach, and water responsibility at the core of the company’s vision. The sustainability promise also set the fashion company’s climate goals around emissions, materials, and water efficiency, such as ensuring 100% of Lindex materials are either recycled or sustainably sourced by 2025.
“We want to prolong the lifetime of our products and use resources in the smartest way possible throughout our operations. A circular business approach will help us with our goals to reduce material streams and sending zero waste to landfill, and the guidance of the Switching gear project team will be of great value in our work to fulfill our promise to future generations”, says Anna-Karin Dahlberg, Corporate Sustainability Manager at Lindex.
Towards an inclusive, fair, and sustainable industry
The past two decades have seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of times clothes are worn. Coupled with a shift towards fast fashion, average consumers today buy 60% more items than they did 15 years ago and wear them for half as long. 70% of closets usually go unworn and it is estimated that 33% of women wear items as little as 5 times before disposing of them.
The Switching Gear project, supported by C&A Foundation, is part of the Bridging the Gap initiative, a group of six organisations working to stimulate sector-wide collaboration, facilitate innovative technologies and the design of best practices to enable the implementation of circular business models in the fashion industry’s supply chain. Other strategic partners of the Bridging the Gap group include the World Resources Institute, WRAP, London Waste and Recycling Board, QSA Partners and Forum for the Future.
The Circle Economy project team is currently looking for additional brands interested in developing a rental or recommerce pilot and exploring circular economy opportunities for their brands. “Interested brands and organisations should contact us”, Gwen adds.
About Circle Economy
We work to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. As an impact organisation, we work to identify opportunities to turn circular economy principles into practical reality. With nature as our mentor, we combine practical insights with scalable responses to humanity’s greatest challenges. Our vision is economic, social and environmental prosperity without compromising the future of our planet. Our mission is to connect and empower a global community in business, cities and governments to create the conditions for systemic transformation. More than 50 businesses are now part of our membership community (from large multinationals to active SMEs and innovative start-ups) with whom we co-create practical and scalable solutions, making the circular economy happen. In addition, we work with cities, governments, CSOs, NGO’s, advisory boards and intergovernmental bodies.
Founded 2015 in Stockholm by August Bard Bringéus and Jakob Dworsky, ASKET is an independent online-only menswear brand on a mission to end overconsumption and restore value in apparel. Replacing the mindless churn of seasonal collections with a single permanent collection of meaningful essentials built on full transparency and constant improvement, ASKET is reducing wardrobes to the pieces we actually need and helping us care for them longer.
Lindex is one of Europe’s leading fashion brands, with approximately 460 stores in 18 markets and sales online. Lindex offers inspiring and affordable fashion for the fashion interested and conscious woman. The assortment includes several different concepts within women’s wear, kids’ wear, lingerie and cosmetics. Lindex sustainability promise is to make a difference for future generations by empowering women, respecting the planet and ensuring human rights.
About Fashion for Good
Fashion for Good is the global initiative that is here to make all fashion good. It’s a global platform for innovation, made possible through collaboration and community. With an open invitation to the entire apparel industry, Fashion for Good convenes brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organisations, innovators and funders united in their shared ambition. At the core of Fashion for Good is our innovation platform. Through our Fashion for Good-Plug and Play Accelerator we give promising start-up innovators the expertise and access to funding they need in order to grow. Our Scaling Programme supports innovations that have passed the proof-of-concept phase, with a dedicated team that offers bespoke support and access to expertise, customers and capital. Our Good Fashion Fund will catalyse access to finance to shift at scale to more sustainable production methods.
Fashion for Good also acts as a convener for change. In October 2018 the Fashion for Good Experience has opened: the world’s first interactive tech museum dedicated to sustainable fashion innovation. In its hub in Amsterdam, Fashion for Good also houses a Circular Apparel Community co-working space, creates open-source resources like its Good Fashion Guide about cradle-to-cradle apparel.
Fashion for Good’s programmes are supported by founding partner C&A Foundation and corporate partners adidas, C&A, BESTSELLER, Galeries Lafayette Group, Kering, Otto Group, PVH Corp., Stella McCartney, Target and Zalando.
About C&A Foundation
C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation here to transform the fashion industry. They work with change-makers all over the world, offering financial support, expertise and networks to make the industry work better for every person it touches. The foundation collaborates with a variety of stakeholders, including NGOs and industry partners, and works closely with smallholder farmers and garment workers. C&A Foundation is driven by the belief that despite the vast and complex challenges, collaborative action can make fashion a force for good. www.candafoundation.org
About Switching Gear: “Switching Gear” is a C&A Foundation supported project that will guide 6 brands on a circular innovation process towards the design and launch of rental and recommerce business model pilots by 2021. Find more information about the project here: https://www.circle-economy.com/case/switching-gear-towards-circular-business-models/