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Revolutionizing the Fashion Industry through Circular Economy Practices

I was in love with Primark when I was studying for my Bachelor's Degree (BA) in the United Kingdom back in 2009, mainly because of its affordable price positioning. Besides Primark, I also love Dorothy Perkins (They have updated their online store as DP. Brand Room) on the posh side, and I was one of their loyal customers for their executive wear when I was in Malaysia after my BA study. 6 years later, I started to understand more about social entrepreneurship and became more involved with non-profits, that is when I realized the impact caused by all these fast fashion brands, resulting in tonnes of waste at the landfills.

With the rising awareness and demand for sustainability, majority of the fashion brands have published their sustainability promises online. For example, Primark has committed to having a circular design by 2027 and making sure all its clothes are made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

So, what is Circular Economy Fashion?

I got attracted to this concept through Teemill when I was working with the non-profit team from the United Kingdom Wisdom (Zhihui) Foundation:

"Founded in 2014, Teemill is the world’s biggest dedicated circular economy platform. It works with more than 10,000 brands, including global NGOs and businesses, media, online content creators, influencers, and side hustlers, providing an open-access circular design and supply chain platform. Its users include Greenpeace, WWF, BBC Earth, Google, Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason, and Lush.", Teemill LinkedIn Profile.

Besides having T-shirts printed on demand, which has reduced lots of unnecessary production, they also look into the remanufacturing of T-shirts with their "Remill" process.

"Remill means that our products can be designed, sold and worn, then sent back, remade and re-printed, and re-used… forever.", Teemill, 'How T-shirts Are Made'.

With the teammates at Wisdom Foundation, we created a Teemill Store in 2019 and transformed the winning artworks from the Global Pen Buddies Competitions to various Adult and Kids T-shirts as charity merchandise.

Some of them are also being showcased on the Fashion Runway with sponsorship from House of iKons during London Fashion Week. Thanks to all the volunteers who made this project a success, and I am so glad to see all the happy faces of the kids who participated in the show. Of course, all of the profits from the merchandise sales go to the charity in supporting the Pen Buddies global kids education project.

Now, Teemill is also scaling up the circular solutions

Besides having a dedicated "Remill T-shirt" to be able to send back to their factory for the remanufacturing process, they have extended this to any other brands as long as the T-shirts are made from 100% cotton. This is under their latest 'Thread Not Dead' Campaign. If Teemill can actualize the circular system now, I don't see why big brands like Primark are not able to fulfill the sustainability commitment within their targeted timeline.

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