The road map will detail solutions for how the fashion industry can responsibly manage inventory, reduce, and move to circular business operations

The road map will detail solutions for how the fashion industry can responsibly manage inventory, reduce, and move to circular business operations

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced the first flagship research project under its Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) platform, which aims to come up with solutions to help the sector optimise inventory levels, reduce waste, and move to circular business operations. 

The 'Waste Ecosystem Project' will lead to a focused action-driven plan, and act as a blueprint to share with other organisations and nations to create a circular fashion industry globally, the BFC says.

Research will look at actions and infrastructures needed in key areas, and outline a proposal for change across the whole value chain and other key areas of the industry such as education and training, collections and recycling infrastructure, textile recycling innovations, upcycling and consumer mindset. 

Concerns over the inventory waste crisis have worsened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic due to order cancellations and falling sales, and exposed the need to be more agile, design out waste, and optimise inventory levels.

The Waste Ecosystem Project will work with industry, academia and government across three areas:

  • Global research: Market assessment to find best practice and innovation, culminating in a research paper to set out the proposed parameters and requirements for enabling the UK fashion industry to become circular.
  • Proposal for change: From the research findings, set out the guidelines and a roadmap as a proposal for change.
  • Implementation: Working with businesses and government, the final phase will look at a programme for implementing best practice in the UK.

The BCF is collaborating with Vanish, part of Reckitt Benckiser, as a founding partner of the IPF to support the research stage. Vanish will also become the BFC's official Garment Care Partner, establish a year-long consumer education programme on sustainable fashion, and sponsor London Fashion Week.

"Now, more than ever, there is a need to help the fashion industry accelerate towards a world of circularity as a result of the inventory waste crisis," Caroline Rush, BFC chief executive says. "Post the pandemic, we have a massive opportunity to reset the fashion industry rather than returning to business as usual and the Waste Ecosystem Project will play a key part in this."

Launched in September last year, the Institute of Positive Fashion helps brands navigate the topic of sustainability by bringing together opinion and best practice across the fashion industry.