Moving towards a new textiles economy with the Ellen Macarthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation are a leading voice for development towards a circular economy, inspiring and advising business, government and academia to work together towards a better future.

With the support of industry heavyweights – including Stella McCartney, Nike, H&M, Parsons, Fashion For Good and the UN – they have just released a report on the textile industry, proposing a vision for “a new textiles economy aligned with the principles of a circular economy: one that is restorative and regenerative by design and provides benefits for business, society and the environment”, which we’re sure you’ll agree are all good things! We all know the current take-make-dispose model is broken, however it can be hard to comprehend the breadth of issues in an industry as complex as fashion.

The report, A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future, provides both insight and recommendations – and most importantly, hope. The full version is available to download here, but at 150 pages it’s a solid read, so we’ve summarised our need-to-know below:

The report outlines four ambitions…


  1. Phase out substances of concern and microfibre release
  2. Transform the way clothes are designed, sold, and used to break free from their increasingly disposable nature
  3. Radically improve recycling by transforming clothing design, collection, and reprocessing
  4. Make effective use of resources and move to renewable inputs

…highlights the importance of innovation:

“Innovators should be supported at all stages. They should be guided in the right direction, and promising innovations should receive the financial support needed to achieve scale. Brands should be involved in defining which innovations are needed, mindful of the common vision. Innovation could include, for example, the search for material flow opportunities from other industries as an input into clothing manufacturing” – like Piñatex®!

affirms the need for transparency in:

  • production & details on material content
  • properties for use & afteruse
  • information on substances of concern & resource use
  • durability, care information & recycling options

pointing out that “measurement tools can help assess products’ content and the negative impacts of individual actors within the textiles industry, as well as their ongoing efforts to transform their practices”.

…and reminds us that collaboration is key.

“To achieve system change, buy-in to the vision needs to be built across different actors, including industry, government and cities, civil society, and the broader public. None of these groups can do it alone.”

A strong vision and sensible advice. We’re confident this will help spark the industry – business and individual, changemakers and consumers – to work together towards a better future.

Quotes from:

Ellen MacArthur Foundation,

A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future,