Cleveland, OH

Circular Economy and Fashion Recap of Cleveland

James Stephens

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CLEVELAND, OH — For fashion, a circular economy means ensuring that products (apparel, footwear, accessories) are used more, made to be made again, and made of safe and recycled or renewable inputs. Hence, this became the slogan for the Circular Economy and Fashion Recap.

Cleveland is working to create a more circular economic structure. Sustainable Cleveland, the city's sustainability program, recently provided updates on its progress. The Forest City has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over a 2010 baseline by 2050.

The Clean and Equitable Energy Future report, which was released in April 2021, details the city's steps to successfully transition to 100% clean energy. Kristin Hall, the director of the City of Cleveland Mayor's Office of Sustainability, said big things have happened since their last meeting in January.

This Sustainable Cleveland webinar introduced the audience to the circular economy and fashion/textiles. This webinar also reviewed the market complexities, some of the solutions, and examples being put in place nationally and locally while also exploring actions that every individual can take to make their own shopping habits and closets more circular.

Firstly, there is Circular Cleveland. There are many blogs led to them, such as Sustainable Cleveland Blog and Circular Cleveland Ambassadors.

Secondly, representatives from Ellen MacArthur Foundation gave their verdicts. This is a global thought leader for the circular economy, with their report, A Vision of a Circular Economy for Fashion. In addition, they provided blogs such as Fashion and the Circular Economy and Make Fashion Circular.

Thirdly, there's also a Cuyahoga Solid Waste District, that talks about Textiles and ZeroLandFill Cleveland. They also have a section speaking about fashion history.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also has a blog providing textile materials-specific data, along with clothing and footwear. Textile Processing and Recycling are also mentioned on their blog.

Regarding fashion business models, the event mentioned brands such as Patagonia, Levi's, Jeans ReDesign, and Arc'teryx. The event itself also said about NYC Street tailor who mends clothes from a pushcart, while on the other hand Kent State University also gives its opinion on this focus-group meeting. It was focused on Textile Reuse and Recycling program.

Materials in clothing and circular fashion are also discussed in this forum. Unconventional materials like Milk, pineapple leaves, cactus, Mycelium, spider silk, and even automobile parts are suggested.

On the other hand, new and exciting programs are discussed here. Programs and breakthrough ideas discussed are Stadler and Tomra, an automated form of sorting textiles; Fabscrap, a fashion waste recycling; while ideas like one form of digital passport for garments and The Big Favorite, a form of recycling, are also discussed.

Additional Resources used in this webinar were Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment, a book about fashion; Unwoven: Phasing Plastic out of Fashion, a video about plastic use in the Fashion world; and a Microfiber Innovation Challenge. The True Cost Movie is also considered a valuable resource.

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