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There’s no shortage of brand announcements recently around clothing launches using ‘recycled fabric’ or the incorporation of ‘revolutionary fibres’ that can be upcycled into fashion collections. One thing is clear, sustainability is not going away any time soon and the industry is fast rising to the challenge, constantly coming under fire for its environmental footprint.

Based on the recent briefing by the European Environment Agency (EEA), discarded textiles in Europe, including used clothing and footwear, are an increasing waste and export problem. Europe faces major challenges in the management of used textiles, which are to be collected separately in the EU by 2025, the report states.

However, consumers and governments alike are pointing brands in the direction of circularity. For instance, the recent ECOSYSTEX (European Community of Practice for a Sustainable Textile Ecosystem) sustainability initiative launched by the European Union is aimed at accelerating collaboration in textile sustainability.

The important feature of ECOSYSTEX is the collaboration between academic and applied researchers, technology developers, textile industry experts and other stakeholders from across Europe.

Across the pond, California launched Bill SB 707 which introduces the Responsible Textile Recovery Act of 2023 to responsibly tackle textile and clothing waste in a bid to promote circularity. This act would require producers to establish a stewardship programme for the collection and recycling of apparel, textile, or textile articles that are unsuitable for further use.

Meanwhile, a recent collaboration between Kelheim Fibres and Recycling Atelier Augsburg is focused on products made from sustainable and eco-friendly fibres that can be recycled.

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By GlobalData

It is interesting to see the industry’s transition – albeit gradual – from fast to slow fashion and I for one am eager to see what the impact will be if more brands continue to pursue sustainable fibres and fabrics. Will it be enough to rescue the industry from its reputation of being the world’s second-largest polluter?

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