We have mentioned it on many occasions, few aspects have aroused greater consensus in the textile sector in recent years than the need for a sustainable transformation. However, the increased knowledge of fashion agents has led to an evolution of this speech to start talking about the next big step within the sector: regenerative fashion. There are already many companies that have begun to take action with the aim of not only reducing the damage caused but also having a positive impact on the planet. Take note of what regenerative fashion brands are doing and get inspired to achieve a holistic change in the textile sector.
We’ve heard this concept for some time now, but what does it mean to be regenerative? And more importantly, why should we differentiate it from being sustainable?
When we talk about regeneration within the fashion industry, we refer to those strategies aimed at promoting the development of biodiversity and not its loss. In this way, regenerative fashion is the one that has been made from raw materials coming from the kind of agriculture that allows the soil to be restored and enhance its fertility. Through regenerative agriculture, different animal and plant species interact with each other in the same space, ensuring the regeneration and enrichment of the soil.
To guarantee the survival of the textile industry in the long term, the focus of fashion must be redirected to offering benefits to the planet
In a context in which fashion continues to have a great negative impact on the planet, it’s necessary to think beyond minimizing carbon emissions, reducing water consumption and pollution, curbing the use of fertilizers and the generation of waste. It is essential to go from seeking balance – achieving sustainability – to working to create a positive impact on the environment – regenerating the system -. To guarantee the survival of the textile industry in the long term, the focus of fashion must be redirected to offering benefits to the planet through its activity.
In the evolution that a brand can undergo to reach models that guarantee the regeneration of all the resources used, there are several phases that are worth breaking down to observe the particularities of each stage of progress:
- Conventional practices. Those actions developed by the company that maintain a continuous line with the rest of the industry. Its sole objective is to comply with current regulations to avoid legal problems.
- Green practices. Relative improvements applied to the life cycle of products that break with conventional practices but don’t make a big difference.
- Sustainable system. All those strategies aimed at limiting the negative impact of textile activities. The balance that seeks the efficient use of resources to prevent damage.
- Restorative system. Processes in which human activity takes part to repair the damage caused to ecological systems and make them healthy.
- Reconciliatory system. Procedures through which the relationship between humanity and nature is harmonized. Recognizes that human and natural systems are one.
- Regenerative system. It consists of creating cultures resilient to change where there is continuous feedback. Regenerative design seeks to co-create a future in which the individual, the community and the planet win. In which the social, ecological and economic benefits are mutually reinforcing through an integrative design.
Sustainability is only the beginning, the intention of the fashion industry must be to become regenerative
In order to be able to differentiate more easily if the actions developed by your brand are aimed at achieving regeneration, we present the difference between eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness. Two terms that will help you identify which path your business is following:
- Eco-efficiency. These are measures that seek to reduce the negative impact. Despite harm reduction, these measures continue to add negative impacts to the environment in the long term. Among some eco-efficient practices we can find the restriction of the use of water or the recycling of materials.
- Eco-effectiveness. Those actions aimed at creating positive impacts understood as the regeneration of the system. These are the measures that in the long term will increase the positive impact of textile activity. An example is the use of raw materials from regenerative agriculture.
The key is in the redesign of production systems. Let’s analyze the strategies that some brands are following to apply regenerative fashion to their business model:
- Use of regenerative agriculture materials. This is the case of brands like Hemper that use hemp as its main raw material. This fiber has shown to have the ability to grow in depleted soils and with hardly any nutrients. In addition, hemp roots stabilize the soil and act as a filter by breaking down polluting substances after absorbing them, transforming toxins into harmless substances.
- Use of fibers from carbon farming. Brands like Mara Hoffman or The North Face already use Climate Beneficial Wool. A byproduct of carbon farming practices, where sheep raised on farms with the ability to sequester carbon in the soil, instead of sending it into the atmosphere, reduce their carbon footprint and create a beneficial impact on the environment.
- Preserve the intrinsic value of products and materials. For this, it’s important to keep the materials in circulation through the biological cycle. That is, to return them to the earth through processes such as composting and anaerobic digestion. Pangaia is one of the brands that has recently joined forces with the innovative materials company Kintra Fibers to use compostable bio-based fibers in its collections.
If we meet the challenge of reducing the demand and consumption of fashion globally while recovering resources through regenerative design and technology, we will have the opportunity to create new production systems.
At BCOME we work with the aim of transforming the fashion industry. We seek the liberation of the textile sector from the consumption of fossil fuels and we aspire to promote the use of regenerated resources in a renewable way that guarantees the progress of the industry in the long term. We want your business to be part of tomorrow’s fashion, shall we talk?