• The Circular Materials Guidelines 1.0 aim to enable innovators, manufacturers, and brands to design for the scale of safer, cleaner fibres.
The Guidelines define a roadmap to incorporate recycled or reclaimed feedstock into fibre content, address
chemical safety, cleaner water, and renewable energy

The Guidelines define a roadmap to incorporate recycled or reclaimed feedstock into fibre content, address chemical safety, cleaner water, and renewable energy

Fashion Positive has released what it claims are the first Circular Materials Guidelines that aim to help align the apparel, footwear, and textile industry on what circular fibres are and how design can make them ready for a circular economy for the fashion industry.

Developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders, the Circular Materials Guidelines 1.0 work to define circular materials and outline a roadmap through 'better' and 'best' recommendations to incorporate recycled or reclaimed feedstock into fibre content, address chemical safety, cleaner water, and renewable energy.

The aim is to enable materials to be circulated for endless use rather than ending up incinerated or in landfill.

"These guidelines are the first step on the road to more circular fibre creation and use. We are not looking to create new or different requirements that are hard for the industry to meet. Rather we are looking to harness the great work taking place to make the industry cleaner, safer, and more resilient," explains Sasha Radovich, who was named executive director of Fashion Positive earlier this year.

"Through the guidelines, we will help create coherence and a roadmap to drive a path toward action, innovation, and systems change. The Circular Materials Guidelines help us have a common language so we can move together faster."

Fashion Positive, which began as an initiative of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute in 2014, is a non-profit that leads the vision, definition, and use of safe and circular materials for the fashion industry. As of 2020, Fashion Positive operates out of the global non-profit, Textile Exchange.

Now in its sixth year, the organisation says circular fibres and yarns are critical to developing clothes and footwear that are cleaner, safer, and designed for the highest value and long-lasting use—in other words, designed for the circular economy. Under this model, products are designed to be effectively disassembled for reuse or to be remade, and ultimately recycled or, where relevant, composted, for a new life.

"Designing for the circular economy reduces the massive negative impact the fashion industry has on the planet and people," the non-profit explains. "Innovators, brands, and manufacturers are working to change that, however until now, there has been a lack of alignment on the requirements necessary to design for the future circular system."

Co-sponsored by Textile Exchange, the guidelines are part of Fashion Positive's aim to spur a scaled approach toward circular-ready materials, continuous improvement, and evolution.

"Our long-term plan is to evolve these guidelines as existing and new standards evolve for relevance and compatibility. Fashion Positive will review the necessity for updates and changes on an annual basis. Fashion Positive will also consider, through stakeholder advisement, whether a verification process may be required to satisfy the guidelines' intended purpose," it says.

Member brands including Outerknown, Gap Inc, Kering, M&S, and G-Star Raw contributed to the development and publication of the framework, which is connected to existing, globally-used verifications standards, including Cradle to Cradle Certification, to demonstrate how standards fit into the vision of a circular fashion industry from the beginning of fibre production.

"The fashion industry won't survive anymore in a 'make, take, waste' approach," says Megan Stoneburner, director of sustainability and sourcing at US menswear brand Outerknown. "Companies need to implement long-term sustainability strategies that meet ambitions for a circular economy. Fashion Positive's Circular Materials Guidelines are critical to helping the industry and leaders align on expectations and systems required to start moving towards circularity and creating systems change."

La Rhea Pepper, managing director for Textile Exchange, adds: "The Circular Materials Guidelines will help the different sectors of the industry make decisions, set goals, and continuously improve. The Guidelines are a critical tool to help the industry collaborate vertically and horizontally to create the massive systems change that will be required to go from a linear system to a circular one."

Fashion Positive will host a webinar in coordination with Textile Exchange on 23 September to present the Circular Materials Guidelines, and the strategic direction of the initiative moving forward: Getting to Action on Circularity.

Click here to access the Circular Materials Guidelines 1.0.