ASOS, one of the world’s leading online fashion retailers, today announces the launch of its first circular collection, featuring trend-led and fashion-forward styles across clothing and accessories, all designed and made to meet industry-leading circularity principles, with no compromise on product or price.
The launch follows ASOS’ commitment at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2018 to train all ASOS designers on circular design by 2020. Since then, ASOS has created and launched an educational programme with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL, which has since been rolled out to all ASOS designers. ASOS is also a participant in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative, which drives collaboration between industry leaders and other key stakeholders to create a textiles economy fit for the 21st century.
To create the collection, ASOS defined eight bespoke design principles:
- Zero-waste design: Using zero-waste design pattern cutting methods to ensure we’re using all the fabric in the most efficient way as possible, so nothing goes to waste.
- Minimised waste: Using design methods and manufacturing techniques that minimise waste.
- Recycled input: Selecting materials with a recycled input to lower the impact of our materials and to drive uptake of recycled materials within the fashion industry
- Durability: Selecting materials and using construction methods that will allow the product to endure wear and care, so you can love your products for longer.
- Versatility: Designing products that can adapt to trend and purpose and can be styled in multiple ways.
- Mono-material: Using the same recyclable material throughout the product. This means designing the product so that its main fabrications can be easily recycled when you’re done with it.
- Disassembly: Designing products that can be easily taken apart at the end of their life, which makes it easier to reuse or recycle.
- Upcycle: Using design techniques and product modifications to remanufacture and upcycle something old into something new.
These eight principles are aligned to the three foundations of the circular economy, as stated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. These are designing out waste and pollution; keeping products and materials in use; and regenerating natural systems. Each product in the collection must apply design principles that meet a minimum of two of these foundations in order to be considered circular, meaning they will remain in use for as long as possible, can be re-used or re-purposed at the end of their lives, and create minimal waste.
Crucially, while the items have all been made to meet industry-leading circular design standards, they are also fashion-forward and led by the season’s biggest trends, challenging the misconception that circular and sustainable clothing can’t be fashionable. Across the 29 styles in the collection, ASOS’ 20- something customers can expect oversized styling and 90s prints, in everything from micro prints to acid wash, original blue denim, cargo pants, and bumbags. The collection also has a number of standout trend pieces, from colour-drenched tailoring to oversized cardigans and tees, mix and match stripes, square neck volume dresses, and mix-and-match jewellery, all in this season’s key colours – brown, lilac and neutrals.
Vanessa Spence, Head of Design at ASOS, said: “We’ve been on an incredible journey in ASOS over the past few years to discover how circular design can work in practice in an organisation like ASOS, and working closely with our suppliers to apply the circular design principles that we’ve set ourselves. What this collection shows is that you don’t need to make a choice between the circular economy and fashion, and that you can make sustainable products without compromising on design or on price.
“With all of our designers now trained in circular principles and our first circular collection out the door, we’re excited to see how we can take this project forward and use our size and scale to share our expertise with our suppliers but also other brands and retailers.”
Professor Dilys Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL, said: “For over two years we’ve worked closely with ASOS, forging trusted relationships through open and honest discussion and commitment to expand a recognition of value in creative, environmental, social, cultural and economic terms. It has involved everyone from creative directors to design, buying, sourcing teams and suppliers. CSF’s programme of research and education co-developed with the ASOS sustainability team, has encouraged cultures and practices of sustainability that can contribute to vital transformation. Designers, by definition, seek to transform materials skills and resources into greater value, in aesthetic and practical terms. What this involves depends on what is recognised as valuable. The future of the industry depends on collaboration – on researchers, educators and fashion professionals working together to achieve the pace and scale of change that is required.”