ASOS launches circular fashion training programme

Online fashion retailer ASOS has this week launched a new sustainable fashion training programme for designers, in a bid to minimise the environmental impact of its operations and stock more closed-loop clothing and accessories.

The global company, which stocks products from more than 850 brands as well as its range of own-brand garments, has partnered with London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) to deliver the training.

The move forms part of the company’s wider 2020 targets, which include aims to train teams on best-practice applications of circular design, launch a garment collection scheme and publish targets for increasing post-consumer recycled textile materials in products while eradicating those that cannot be recycled.

It is hoped that the training programme, which will be trialled among 15 members of ASOS’ core design team this month, will be rolled out across all its design departments within the next 12 months.

“With this pilot we’re making sure our designers have the knowledge and skills they need to put sustainability and circularity into practice,” ASOS’ design director, Vanessa Spence, said.

“It’s a vital step on our journey to designing products with circularity in mind right from the start, which will ensure that they are made responsibly, remain in use for as long as possible once they’re sold, and don’t cause unnecessary waste at the end of their lives.”

Sustainable style

The launch of the scheme comes days after ASOS announced it would ban cashmere, silk, down, mohair and feathers across its entire platform by 2019, after customers raised concerns about animal welfare issues. 

It also comes at a time when the wider fashion industry is making moves away from cradle-to-grave business models, after a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation revealed that $460bn is currently lost to the global garment industry each year due to the underutilisation of clothes, with a further $100bn being lost to landfill and incineration.

Gap, H&M, Nike and Burberry are among the major brands which are leading the Foundation’s new Make Fashion Circular initiative, which aims to drive a circular fashion industry through commitments to create business models that will keep garments in use, utilise materials which are renewable and find ways of recycling old clothes into new products.

Meanwhile, VF Corporation, which owns fashion brands The North Face and Timberland, revealed last month that it is set to trial a number of closed-loop, service-based models following the success of a recent refurbished-garments service.

The circular economy at Responsible Retail 2018

The transition to closed-loop business models will be one of the key themes of edie’s third annual Responsible Retail conference, taking place on 20 September 2018 at 99 City Road, London.

The full-day event has been designed for the retailers, sustainability professionals and key stakeholders that are looking for the information, insight and inspiration required to seize the sustainability opportunity.

Find out more about Responsible Retail 2018 and register to attend here

Sarah George

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