Reet Aus in Fashion and Textile Magazine

Reet Aus. Photo by Mariann Jüriorg

A research article published on the introduction of an upcycling and a circular economy model in the fashion industry

In November, the journal Fashion and Textile published an article summarising the results of a more than 5-year practice-led study on using upcycling design and production methods in garment mass production.

The article “Designing for circular fashion: integrating upcycling into conventional garment manufacturing processes” was written by Reet Aus, EKA Sustainable Design and Material Lab senior researcher, and co-authored by Harri Moora, Markus Vihma, Reimo Unt, Marko Kiisa and Sneha Kapur. 

The authors describe the efficiency of upcycling design approach by analysing the generation and potential use of various types of fabric leftovers from garment manufacturing. The results of this research showed that depending on the size of the factory, the fabric leftovers and textile waste generated in garment production ranges from 25–40% of the total fabric used. Experiments showed that 50% of that material could be upcycled into new garments, and for some types of leftover—mainly spreading loss and excess fabric—it can even be up to 80%. 

The authors point out that it is essential to consider that the upcycling design process differs from regular design—a garment is designed based on the parameters of the waste materials. The results of this research show that upcycling is an excellent opportunity to find the highest value for textile waste with relatively low cost by leveraging the existing capabilities and capacity of textile manufacturers. Upcycling pre-consumer waste makes it possible to work with homogenous and predictable material streams to manufacture the same upcycled garment designs in large quantities. A large amount of textile waste and leftovers can be redirected back into production and upcycled into new garments in-house while significantly increasing the overall circularity of the sector.

The article is freely and permanently accessible online, without subscription charges or registration barriers. You can read the article here

Fashion and Textiles aim to advance knowledge and seek new perspectives in the fashion and textiles industry worldwide. The journal is published by the Korean Society of Clothing and Textiles, a non-profit academic organisation established to make professional contributions to scholarly research and the development of related industries.

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Posted by Andres Lõo