The Nature of Fashion
June 30, 2020 A new report reveals how emulating nature’s lessons in the fashion industry can enhance ecosystems to boost biodiversity, build soil, support communities, and clean up existing pollution.
The circular economy seeks to replicate nature’s cycling, and one of its premises is that infinitely reusing our industrial materials can make commerce compatible with nature. But everything we do, all of our industry and economic activity, still exists within the natural system. The same laws of physics that drive natural material cycles make it impossible to isolate the technical ones. Our man-made material loops always, inevitably, leak.
What would the fashion industry look like if it truly functioned as an ecosystem? By realigning ourselves with what occurs in nature, we can design a next-generation textile production model that recognizes its connections to the biosphere. This report explores the material flows that underpin natural systems and shows that the first thing we must learn from nature is how to design for decomposition and dispersal. It also shows how the fashion industry, relying on advances in regenerative agriculture, cellulosic fibers, fermentation, and gasification, can work with existing technology and nature to jump-start the transition to bio-compatible fibers right now. Finally, it includes recommendations for stakeholders on next steps to take to transform the system.
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