By Daniel Ng
Kicking off this brand-new series, generated from our offline sharing session and online resources for you all, Angus Tsang from our research team at The Mills Fabrica, shares how our daily decisions on clothing could potentially save the world from pollution within fashion, and how the industry would react.
Since World War II, thousands of plastic products, made from fossil fuels, have proliferated transforming the modern age due to the unique qualities of plastics: cheap, versatile, durable and light.
Despite the advantages of plastics utilization, it is harming our environment in a lot of aspects:
It’s clear that we’re not putting plastic bags over us as clothing, yet the synthetic fiber used to produce our clothes is a major source of microplastic pollution, consisting 63% of the total global fiber production in 2019.
And, as reported by Fashion Revolution, clothing & textiles industry is the major source of primary microplastics, consisting 35% of total production. We might not clearly see microplastics as they are tiny plastic pieces of less than 5mm in length. However, the issues as mentioned above are alarming.
To deal with this situation, we can contribute through embracing conscious consumption. Yet, how should the industry react? Let’s take a look at the approach of Levi’s.
Source: The Mills Fabrica
What is circular economy? According to Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “[it] is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.” In other words, maximizing the lifespan of materials and products helps minimizing impacts.
What Levi’s is doing is a 360 approach, from repairing to recycling:
One might wonder what’s next after collecting worn denim products and Levi’s answer is embracing sustainable innovations.
The partnership between Levi’s and Evrnu has created a brand new 511® jeans using fiber made from discarded cotton T-shirts; while Renewcell has empowered Levi’s to launch the Wellthread™ line, using Circulose® a new natural material made from worn-out clothes.
As the sharing came to an end, Angus concluded, “To develop a sustainable future for the upcoming generations, every stakeholder is just as important being a global citizen.”
Angus Tsang has worked in the research field for over 4 years, focusing on thematic research and innovations related topics. His work includes “Driving for Circularity: Collaborating for Industry Impact” and “COVID-19: Reconstructing The Apparel Value Chain — Towards Resilience And Digitization”.