After years of trial programs and capsule collections, 2023 is a critical year for businesses to satisfy circular economy pledges and address fashion waste.
New textile-to-textile recycling factories are springing up, pushed driven by new European laws. However, major investment in infrastructure and design procedures is still required to make recyclable fashion a reality in large numbers.
"We're shifting from a technological difficulty... to a logistical supply chain one," said Laura Balmond, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's director of fashion.
"There's some really amazing energy, ingenuity, and devotion [to the circular economy], but... how do you make that a mainstream business model?"
As corporations face greater pressure to address overproduction, the focus will shift beyond recycling solutions. Degrowth, a hazy but growing phrase that emphasizes the friction between businesses' consumer-driven business models and environmental aims, has grown from a radical anti-capitalist notion to a frequent component of mainstream arguments that will influence the industry's future.
"There have been all these debates and discussions in the industry for quite some time about alternate growth models, degrowth, and overconsumption," Niemtzow said, "but I believe the new perspective on it is that there may be a gap between our economic strategy and our environmental aspirations."