How are Sustainable Fashion Brands driving circularity?  

There are a growing number of sustainable fashion brands placing emphasis on circularity. The first piece in our two part series on the future of sustainable fashion unpacked some of the recent trends and the rise of rental, repair and resale models (Read: The Future of Sustainable Fashion Part 1). Sustainable fashion is not just in consumers’ hands, companies and brands need to innovate too. In this piece, we uncover some of the trailblazing sustainable fashion brands making the circular economy for fashion a reality.

Trailblazing Sustainable Fashion brands

  • Patagonia

Sustainable fashion brands like Patagonia have adopted a different business model to conventional fast fashion brands. The company creates high quality, long-lasting items while simultaneously offering repair and reuse programs. Patagonia rethinks the life of our clothes and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is core to their circularity model. Patagonia offers an e-commerce platform called ‘Worn Wear’, where customers can purchase used and repaired apparel and gear. Their commitment to taking responsibility for end-of-life materials and products doesn’t stop there, the brand also encourages responsible fashion consumption by creating new products from old products (upcycling) through their recycling strategy.

Patagonia Sustainable brand jacket

  • Adidas

Adidas have a Three Loop Strategy to end plastic waste and focus their efforts on creating sustainable products. For example, “Recycled Loop” aims to eliminate the use of virgin plastics by 2024 and have partnered with Parley Ocean Plastic to incorporate reclaimed ocean plastic into their footwear. “Circular loop” strives to redesign products so they can have multiple life cycles.

Adidas sustainability strategy

A perfect example of this is the Futurecraft Loop running shoe. Adidas has developed an innovative running shoe made entirely from only one type of recycled material which is fully recyclable. Conventionally footwear like trainers, are made up of a minimum of 12 different materials which makes disassembly for recycling a challenge. The concept prioritises circularity since it is 100% recyclable, and the recycling process turns the components into a new shoe.

Adidas sustainable footwear


  • MUD Jeans

The process to make fabric (denim) is one of the most water-intensive processes in the fashion industry. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 7000 litres of water are required to make a single pair of denim jeans. That’s enough drinking water for an individual for over 5 years. MUD Jeans do things a little differently. The brand aligns itself with sustainability and its mission is “for the fashion industry to be driven by circular production and conscious consumption”.

MUD are pioneers within the sustainable denim space, offering a repair service, “Lease-A-Jeans” model, and a take back system for old jeans where they are upcycled and resold. Unlike some brands, the measures they have in place don’t apply to a single range, but rather, they promote circularity for all their products.

Mud Jeans communicate their environmental performance transparently, releasing their Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to the public. In comparison to industry standards, 477 litres of water are used to produce a single pair of jeans and the brand has been able to achieve significant reductions in emissions, land use, and disposal via landfill or incineration.

Mud Jeans LCA savings

MUD Jeans are also involved in awareness raising campaigns. In the lead up to COP26 in 2021, the “Cop Ness Monster” was unveiled in London to raise awareness about climate change and circularity. The artwork, made using 800 recycled pairs of jeans donated by MUD Jeans, highlighted that, unlike the Lock Ness Monster, living a life promoting circularity is certainly not a hoax.

Sustainable denim jeans

Supporting Brands that close the loop

Brands like Patagonia, Adidas and MUD Jeans who are making an effort to keep their environmental impact to a minimum, as a core function of their business rather than just a marketing strategy, should be supported. These pioneering brands have an integral role to play in transitioning the fashion industry to a more sustainable future by challenging the status quo within the industry. It is worth recognising, however, that priority should be placed on reducing, reusing and repairing items to extend the life of clothing and create a circular system.

The Don’t Waste System and technology supports circular economy models, aligned to the waste hierarchy. We help clients easily trace the final destination of their products to ensure their environmental impacts are minimised. We work with large retail brands to ensure waste is separated, collected and recycled into a closed loop system and provide the tools to transparently communicate environmental performance to key stakeholders.


Don’t Waste provides industry leading business intelligence, site management, and waste management services to Property, Retail, Commercial, Industrial and Hospitality industries. Our customers include the world’s leading property management groups. To find out more about our innovative value-added systems and services in onsite waste operations, contact:

Linus Naik- Group General Manager: Sustainability & Business Development (Email: I Mobile: +27 82 552 0675).

Michael Foreman- UK Managing Director and International Business Development (Email: I Mobile: +44 7939 027193).

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