Let’s start this blog post off with a little audience participation. Don’t worry, it’s an easy one! Go to your closet and choose any garment. Then locate the care tag and take a look through it. Chances are the tag you find lists the piece’s materials, where it was made and instructions for how best to clean the item. One thing you won’t see included; what to do with the garment when you no longer want it.
Certainly, some of us donate clothing we’re tired of wearing. Maybe you’ve participated in a swap with friends to re-home your preloved pieces. You might use old materials for cleaning or repurpose used fabrics around your home. But these examples are all initiatives you take on at a personal level and, unfortunately, aren’t necessarily reflected by the majority of consumers.
In a Vogue article from 2020, it was estimated that nearly 50 million tons of clothing end up in landfills each year. The cause of this waste is of course mixed. Overconsumption has a big role to play. The rise of online retailers has also increased access for many consumers. But perhaps the most influential driver are the countless fast fashion brands offering us a constant influx of cheap, trend-based goods. Brands like these have capitalized off of making poor quality items that rip, break or phase out after a single season. And while you might think that would work to their detriment, it’s proven a surefire way to force many customers into rebuying after just a few months of wear.
On top of being exploitative, this linear and profit-focused strategy works in opposition to the sustainable future so many of us hope to see. Fashion is already one of the world’s most polluting industries. And without significant changes to how large fashion brands manufacture and operate, the negative ripple effects of this single industry will only continue to grow, affecting essential resources, such as agriculture and climate.
The bright side in all of this is that consumers are slowly starting to pay attention and demanding clothing brands step up. Slow brands, Poplinen included, have raised shoppers’ expectations of quality by committing to the ethical sourcing and manufacturing of their products. And even more recently, a smaller subset of this group has also begun to put similar attention on their garments’ middle and end of life, bringing the design process full circle.
According to Good on You, the idea of circular fashion was introduced at a Swedish seminar in 2014, driven in large part by the Rana Plaza Collapse in 2013 when the world, very publicly, witnessed the consequences of popular fast-fashion practices. Unlike slow fashion or even the secondhand market, circular fashion brands give equal weight to every stage of a garment’s lifecycle. In doing this, brands hope to minimize unnecessary waste and prevent clothing from being prematurely discarded.
The circular movement has brought about many creative solutions to making clothing last longer. Slow fashion brands have engineered ways to easily take in and out pieces, allowing them to adapt to the natural ebb and flow of women’s bodies. Brands like Girlfriend Collective and Knickey, have started upcycling older styles into brand-new pieces and even products like insulation.
At Poplinen, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. For as much care as we take in sourcing our fabrics and ensuring fair wages & working conditions for our employees, we noticed an essential loop was missing from our current business. That’s why we’re so excited to announce our upcoming partnership with Treet.
With the help of Treet’s circular resale platform, you—our awesome customers—will now be able to sell & buy preloved Poplinen pieces easily and securely through our website. Every item on our site will be verified—so you’ll know it’s real Poplinen. And sellers will have the option to choose between store credit and cold hard cash with every sale. Our hope for this new partnership is not only to give every Poplinen item the long life it’s designed for but also to make our brand even more financially accessible to people who want it.
Whether buying or selling preloved Poplinen, we hope you’ll take advantage of this new site feature. Stay tuned to our Instagram and newsletter for more updates on this exciting circular shift!