The apparel industry has experienced radical transformations throughout the years. Thirty years ago trends and consumer demand were forecast long before consumers purchased the garments, and the production was planned and sized accordingly. In the late 1980s, the industry developed a global infrastructure that emphasized quick response to consumer demand through reduced lead times and low costs. Fast fashion was born.
During the last 20 years, the price of clothing has fallen and the number of imported pieces of clothing has increased. In the US, apparel prices were on average 10% lower in 2005 than in 1998. Globally since the year 2000, the amount of clothing sold has doubled, and the number of times a garment is worn has decreased by 36%. From 1975, the global production of textile fibers has increased by a staggering 280%. This is a 4-fold increase. The raw materials, such as cotton, are becoming scarce or unsustainable to produce.
We live in an era of ‘excessive accumulation’ of clothing. As the closet space is finite, some of that excess has to be discarded. There is a problem to be solved. The solution is a circular economy of textiles. Let’s discuss here how to make this transition!