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Asos unveils debut circular fashion collection

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Online fashion retailer Asos has launched its first circular collection, featuring trend-led and fashion-forward styles across clothing and accessories, which have all been designed and made to meet “industry-leading circularity principles, with no compromise on product or price”.

The circular fashion collection marks the first following its collaboration with Centre for Sustainable Fashion and features 29 trend-led styles that have all been designed under its new bespoke design principle including zero-waste, durability and recycled input.

The launch follows Asos’ commitment at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2018 to train all Asos designers on circular design by 2020. Since then, the online fashion retailer has created and launched an educational programme with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL, which has since been rolled out to all Asos designers.

The retailer defined eight bespoke design principles to create the circular fashion collection, which aligned to the three foundations of the circular economy, as stated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which Asos is a participant of its ‘Make Fashion Circular initiative’, which aims to drive collaboration between industry leaders and other key stakeholders to create a textiles economy fit for the 21st century.

Asos commits to circular fashion with 8 new design principles

  1. Zero-waste design: Using zero-waste design pattern cutting methods to ensure we’re using all the fabric in the most efficient way as possible, so nothing goes to waste.
  2. Minimised waste: Using design methods and manufacturing techniques that minimise waste.
  3. Recycled input: Selecting materials with a recycled input to lower the impact of our materials and to drive uptake of recycled materials within the fashion industry
  4. Durability: Selecting materials and using construction methods that will allow the product to endure wear and care, so you can love your products for longer.
  5. Versatility: Designing products that can adapt to trend and purpose and can be styled in multiple ways.
  6. Mono-material: Using the same recyclable material throughout the product. This means designing the product so that its main fabrications can be easily recycled when you’re done with it.
  7. Disassembly: Designing products that can be easily taken apart at the end of their life, which makes it easier to reuse or recycle.
  8. Upcycle: Using design techniques and product modifications to remanufacture and upcycle something old into something new.   These design rules means that each product in the collection must meet a minimum of two of these foundations in order to be considered circular, meaning they will remain in use for as long as possible, can be re-used or re-purposed at the end of their lives, and create minimal waste.

Vanessa Spence, head of design at Asos, said in a statement: “We’ve been on an incredible journey in Asos over the past few years to discover how circular design can work in practice in an organisation like Asos, and working closely with our suppliers to apply the circular design principles that we’ve set ourselves. What this collection shows is that you don’t need to make a choice between the circular economy and fashion, and that you can make sustainable products without compromising on design or on price.   “With all of our designers now trained in circular principles and our first circular collection out the door, we’re excited to see how we can take this project forward and use our size and scale to share our expertise with our suppliers but also other brands and retailers.”

The new collection it adds also challenges the misconception that circular and sustainable clothing can’t be fashionable, as it states that all the 29 styles are fashion-forward and led by the season’s biggest trends, such as oversized styling and 90s prints, to cater for its 20-something customer.

The collection, features everything from micro prints to acid wash, original blue denim, cargo pants, and bumbags, alongside a number of standout trend pieces, such as colour-drenched tailoring to oversized cardigans and tees, mix and match stripes, square neck volume dresses, and mix-and-match jewellery, all in this season’s key colours – brown, lilac and neutrals.

Key styles includes a lilac unisex suit, recycled unisex jeans, an oversized reversible T-shirt dress, and a unisex multi-stripe shirt, as well as accessories such as wellie boots and a fisherman rib beanie hat. Prices range from 6 to 58 pounds.

To highlight the sustainable values of the collection, each product will also feature a QR code on its garment tag, which customers can scan to visit and learn more about our circular design principles and how the product was made.

Professor Dilys Williams, director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL, added: “For over two years we’ve worked closely with Asos, forging trusted relationships through open and honest discussion and commitment to expand a recognition of value in creative, environmental, social, cultural and economic terms. It has involved everyone from creative directors to design, buying, sourcing teams and suppliers.

“CSF’s programme of research and education co-developed with the ASOS sustainability team, has encouraged cultures and practices of sustainability that can contribute to vital transformation. Designers, by definition, seek to transform materials skills and resources into greater value, in aesthetic and practical terms. What this involves depends on what is recognised as valuable. The future of the industry depends on collaboration – on researchers, educators and fashion professionals working together to achieve the pace and scale of change that is required.”

This is the latest sustainable commitment from Asos, in August, the retailer called on its brand partners to strengthen their commitment to transparency and responsible action by pledging to its ‘Transparency Pledge’ to make ethical manufacturing commitments as a condition to their products being sold on its website.

Images: courtesy of Asos

Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Circular Fashion
Sustainable Fashion