Our clothes are some of our most treasured possessions. This love of fashion fuels a global industry, employing millions around the world. But this current system also drives pollution and waste. One truck-full of clothing is burned or landfilled every second, mountains of clothes are stuck in warehouses or at the bottom of our wardrobes, and less than one per cent of used clothing is turned back into new clothes.
Circular economy principles offer a way to change this. Instead of our ‘take, make, waste’ model we should be finding ways to make clothes last longer and stay in use; ensuring that materials don’t damage the environment when they are made or used; and making sure that when clothing does wear out, that those materials can be recovered and used again.
Design is critical to finding these solutions, and we need to mobilise thousands of designers around the world to help change the system, from products and service solutions to businesses model design and communications.
Building on the RSA’s history in design for a circular economy, over the next two years we will be working with the RSA Student Design Awards and our wider network, to run design challenges, workshops and events, to inspire the next generation of design talent to join the movement for change.