18 of 20 stages

Circular design systems and 100% bio-degradable material

18 of 20 stages

18 of 20 Stages of the Evolution of British Wool

Embracing Sustainability

In her Ted Talk Ellen MacArthur defines her concept of circular design systems as a world where finite resources are used in a circular system of production, reuse, or regeneration.(Ellenmacarthurfoundation.org). Wool fibre fits into one of her three main principles, ‘regenerate natural systems’ as it is 100% bio-degradable.

circular design systems

Problems arise when natural fibres are blended with synthetic ones as they are in fast fashion, this has the negative effect of limiting the recycling options of the garment after use (Guardian, 2015).

Shoddy factories, which have nearly disappeared in Britain, recycle woollen cloth and knitwear by cutting the ready made garments up to make fibre for felting or yarn for re-knitting. These businesses fit in to the circular system and local councils have now seen the benefits and are supporting the reintroduction of new shoddy factories with innovation grants.

Designers can play an important role in the circular design system by using their skills to limit the amount of non bio-degradable components in their designs.

Shoody and Mungo manufacturers

Upcycling woollen garments is not part of the circular system although it helps prevent more waste reaching landfill. Recycling is one of the many ways to tackle the effects of over production, it has many critics such as Fletcher (2014, p126), Chapman (2015, p164) and Van Hinte, (1999, p.4) who stress that recycling is simply a solution to the consequences of the excesses of fashion industry but does not solve the problem of overconsumption which is the root cause.

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