Circular fashion and sustainability

How fashion brands and consumers can become more sustainable through circular fashion, with our founder and creative director, Lucy Macnamara.

Following the news that Aspiga has been shortlisted as a finalist for Brand of the Year in the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards 2021, I have been asked to speak about the importance of circular fashion at their annual conference, on the 11th March 2021. It's a huge honour to be asked, and whilst I am quite nervous, I'm also thrilled to discuss my passion for sustainable fashion and the sustainable goals that Aspiga has achieved!

Circular fashion is something that Aspiga strives towards with every new collection and business decision we make. From our production processes to the choices of materials, fabrics, and packaging we use, we are constantly thinking about the lifecycle of our products.

Just in case you can't see my talk on the 11th, the following is a brief summary of circular fashion, what brands can do to support it, and what you can be doing at home:

What is circular fashion?

Circular Circular fashion is aimed at increasing the lifespan of resources and minimising our impact on the planet. The intention is that the life cycle of products should bring no environmental or socio-economic harm, but instead contribute to positive development and well-being of humans, ecosystems and societies at large.

“It can be defined as clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced and provided with the intention to be used and circulated responsibly and effectively in society, for as long as possible, in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use.” - Dr Anna Brismar

How brands can practice circular fashion:


1. Design with the planet in mind

The planet's resources are finite, every decision we make has an impact. By making the right choices throughout the design process, brands can make a difference by: designing collections with longevity in mind; designing with biodegradable, renewable and recyclable materials; and making sure all materials are non-toxic.

2. Source and process ethically

Every brand should be responsible for developing a sustainable future for everyone. They can do this by contributing to the positive development and well-being of humans and societies, and giving back wherever possible to help with social and environmental development.


3. Reuse, recycle and compost waste

Creating a circular fashion industry via upcycling, repairing, swapping and reselling is the way forward. Brands can encourage this by: using recyclable and compostable materials; providing services to help with recycling and/or reusing clothes.

4. Collaborate well and widely

Working together towards a more sustainable future is important for all companies. Brands can partner with environmental and social projects to promote sustainability, and partner with services that offset waste.


5. Encourage customers to do their part

Whilst the larger responsibility for sustainability lies with brands and their practices, they can encourage their customers to help by offering sustainable advice. By suggesting washing and care instructions, repair and refurbishment tips they can help give their products a longer life, enabling customers to cut back on waste and ultimately become more sustainable.

How Aspiga practices circular fashion:

1. Design with the planet in mind

We always use sustainable, organic, non-toxic and ethical materials when possible. Read about our preferred materials here.

We design beautiful, contemporary and stylish pieces that are intended to last. We love to promote longevity with our key styles that come back every season, such as the Dori Dress or Valentina Blouse.

2. Source and produce ethically

We partner with artisans and suppliers, primarily in Kenya and India. By teaming up with locals from marginalised communities, we help stimulate their economies and empower them enabling them to sustain their livelihoods and thrive. Read more about our story here.

We also have given back in a number of ways to support positive change around the world.

3. Reuse, recycle and compost waste

Our upcycled scrunchies are made using leftover fabric from our Spring Summer 2021 collection, preventing waste fabrics being sent to landfill.

We have signed up to First Mile ( so that all of our office waste is recycled and not sent to landfill.

We are hoping to introduce a recycling service for our customers to send old clothes into.

4. Collaborate well and widely

In 2019 we pledged to collect at least one basket of waste from the beaches in Malindi, Kenya for each pair of Kenyan sandals sold. Our beach clean-ups take place once a month with the help of 12 young volunteers, that Aspiga sponsors enabling them to attend school, as well as members of the local community.

We have partnered with CarbonClick, enabling consumers to purchase carbon credits at checkout. These go directly to supporting gold standard verified carbon offset projects such as forest restoration, tree planting and renewable energy projects around the world.

In partnership with international conservation charity World Land Trust, Aspiga will offset the projected 100 tonnes of paper that we will use in our brochures for 2021. This will enable World Land Trust to buy and protect acres of the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats.

5. Encourage customers to do their part

We continue to encourage customers to extend the life of their clothes wherever possible.

All Aspiga products come with a swing tag which has
instructions on what is the best way to care for your

See below for our guide to keeping your clothes longer.

How consumers can practice circular fashion:

1. Vote with your purse

Buying classic designs made from sustainable materials will mean your clothes are better quality and last longer than passing trends. It will also encourage brands to focus on quality collections rather than fast fashion.

2. Care for what you have

Repair and look after your clothes before giving up on them - sewing up a hole, stitching on a button etc.

Use a washing bag when doing a clothes wash to protect the clothes and stop plastic microfibers entering the water cycle, such as Guppy Bag.

3. Keep it for longer

It's estimated that extending the life of a garment by an extra 9 months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%. Therefore it's important to maintain and keep your clothes as long as possible - our handy guide shows you how to lengthen the life of a garment.

4. Don't throw it out

Increase the lifecycle of your clothes. Mending, upcycling, reselling, borrowing, renting and repurposing your old clothes are fun and sustainable alternatives to landfill. When you no longer wish to keep clothes, send them on to a second life via a charity shop, clothes swap or reselling platform.

Why not host a clothes swap with wine and nibbles once lockdown is lifted?

Let us know why you think circular fashion is important - tag us at @aspigalondon

Want to hear more? - buy tickets for my talk on circular fashion here.