What is Circular Fashion?
Circular Fashion is a relatively new concept that was introduced in 2014 by sustainability expert Anna Brismar. You may be able to grasp from the name, circular fashion means creating a regenerative system, where garments are circulated for as long as possible — and returned safely to the Earth when they are no longer of use. The main goal of circular fashion is to keep clothing out of the landfill for longer through creative textile repurposing and thoughtful consumption.
Image via: Fashion Revolution
A brand can't be considered sustainable and ethical if they're not thoughtfully implementing the practices of Circular Fashion. There are so many things that go into a brand being "sustainable" — but some of the key areas would be:
1. Making sure the fabric being used is biodegradable and can actually be safely returned to the earth.
2. Using fabric that is high quality and durable so that it isn't a useless garment after several seasons.
3. Ensuring that the processes involved in making the garments uses no harsh chemicals, and have third-party certifications that verify a safe production process. For example, all Miik fabrics are Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® certified, meaning they're free of toxic chemicals, and safer for you and for our planet.
Implementing Circular Fashion means that every stage in the lifecycle of a garment is considered. In our opinion, clothing should always be made of high quality, made to last fabric. Not only that, the styles themselves should be versatile and timeless, outlasting trends that are only popular for a season or two. Too often, clothing ends up in a landfill long before it should. At the end of the day, whether or not a product is made sustainably, we need to keep innovating and creating, as well as wearing the clothes we do have for longer. Once clothing is dumped into the landfills, they're not going anywhere....anytime soon.
What does fast fashion have to do with circular fashion?
We've talked about how fast fashion can be harmful in a previous article that you can read here. Fast fashion is the opposite of what circular fashion stands for. Fast fashion is a term that defines when inexpensive clothing is produced rapidly by mass-market retailers, in response to the latest trends. Fads seem to come and go quicker than ever these days — clothing is made with cheap quality fabric that is worn FAST, goes out of style FAST, and falls apart FAST.
Part of the reason why thrift shopping and sustainable fashion brands have become so popular in the past 5 years, is because people are starting to become more educated on the realities of how harmful the fashion industry can be. Shopping consciously is important and makes a huge impact. While there are certainly other areas to improve on for the sake of our future Earth, your wardrobe is a fantastic place to start.
♻️ How to apply Circular Fashion into everyday life ♻️
1. Shopping consciously from brands that are environmentally responsible and ethical, buying items that are timeless, high quality, and made to last. Only consume products that you know you will wear and love for years to come. Timeless > Trendy.
2. Caring for your clothes! One of the easiest ways to do this is simply paying attention to the care instructions on your clothing, to extend their lifespan. Here are some of our other top tips for caring for your clothes:
- Mend your clothes. Lost a button? Sew a new one back on! Found a hole in your favourite pants? Sew it up, or bring it to a professional tailor instead of going and buying a new pair.
- Wash your clothes LESS! Unless it's undergarments or workout wear, you shouldn't need to wash a garment until after 4-5 wears or more.
- Stop putting your clothes in the dryer! Washing your clothes in cold water and laying flat or hanging to dry is the best way to preserve the fibre integrity of your clothing, and keep the colour looking 100. Not to mention, dryers are one of the TOP energy drains in our houses.
- Store your clothes nicely by hanging them up or folding them and storing properly. This one sounds so obvious, but so many of us (hello 🙋🏻♀️) are guilty of leaving our clothing on the floor for longer than they should. Then they have to be washed sooner than they likely need to — referring back to point 1! Stay organized and care for your clothes like the good friends they are!
3. Repurpose the clothes you thought about getting rid of! There are so many DIYs in the internet where you can find great inspiration. Maybe a satin shirt you don't want anymore could become a scarf, a very old t-shirt could become a cleaning rag. Unfortunately, many times we are quick to donate our clothing — and while that's better than throwing them out, oftentimes clothing that is donated goes right to the landfill if it isn't purchased. We challenge you to keep your clothes longer and repurpose them into something useful or beautiful!
4. Part with your clothes responsibly. If you've decided that you're ready to clean out your closet — try selling garments first on a resale site like Poshmark or a local consignment store like Plato's Closet. Chances are if you're patient, you'll be able to find a new home for the style, and make some money at the same time! If you decide to donate your clothing, remember to do so responsibly and do some research on the organization you're donating to first.
Circular Fashion and our Seconds Sale
If you've never heard of the term "Seconds" before shopping with Miik, you're not alone! We don't know of many other brands (slow fashion or not!) that host seconds sales. Seconds are perfectly imperfect styles with barely-there flaws that don't meet our very high standards in quality. But the last thing we want to do is throw them away — especially because these garments are wearable, beautiful and oftentimes the flaws really are miniscule. To minimize waste and contribute to a more sustainable production process, we host seconds sales twice a year — where we deeply discount flawed styles for our customers to choose from.
We've been asked in the past why we do our seconds sale, and why we want to sell clothing that isn't 100% perfect and up to our standards - have you wondered that too? Well, here's the main reasons why:
✨ Many fast fashion companies dispose of their slightly flawed styles...they literally throw them in the trash. The main reason for that is their clothes aren't actually worth enough money to warrant spending the time to go through flawed styles and see what is salvageable and ultimately wearable.
✨ Since all our clothing is made in small batches, our team is able to do proper quality control checks. Our standards for quality are very high because we want you to feel confident in your purchases with us. Many of the styles that don't meet our standards are still luxuriously beautiful with small imperfections. We want to see these styles worn and loved by someone.
✨ We know that ethical, locally-made fashion isn't the most accessible price for everyone. Our seconds sale is the perfect opportunity for those who are working with a lower budget, to try out our pieces at a fraction of the cost 💰
✨ Ultimately, our goal as a business is to minimize waste and be guided by a sustainability ethos when it comes the clothing industry. Even our perfectly imperfect seconds deserve to worn and loved instead of going to a landfill ♻️
We can't and would never sell any flaw (even teeny tiny ones) at full price. We keep our standards incredibly high, because as we said before — trust from our customers is very important so us. You're probably wondering about the styles that have more noticeable flaws. Of course we have some styles that we don't feel comfortable selling at 50% off — those are called thirds, but if it's an easily fixable flaw, we further discount it at 70% off.
The styles we don't sell in the seconds sale are worn by the Miik team or our family & friends. Then additional styles are donated to organizations that align with Miik's values and mission. This year, we were able to donate over 12 bags of clothing to 2 fantastic local organizations: Dress for Success and Sistering Women's Shelter.
By selling our seconds, we keep our clothing in circulation, and when you buy the pieces and wear them for years to come, you're also part of the Circular Fashion solution! Throwing them out would mean breaking the cycle, and even though sometimes it inevitable, we want to keep our clothing out of the landfills for as long as possible.
Something else we do that helps keep our clothing out of the landfills and in loving closets, is by hosting our incredibly popular bi-annual Buy, Sell and Trade event in our Miik Members Facebook Group (haven't joined yet?! Click here to join the community!)
If we all resolve to keep our clothing in circulation for longer, we will make a huge positive impact on our planet together. If you would like to take a look at some other articles we've discussed about sustainability and ethical fashion, you can check them out here:
We would love to keep this conversation going with you! Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and start a discussion about what Circular Fashion means to you in the comments 😁
With much love,
You Miik team 💚