Spanish fashion company Mango has launched its first denim collection designed with circularity criteria to promote a second life for garments.
- Mango has designed a denim capsule collection based on circularity criteria.
- Circularity plays a key role in the company’s sustainability strategy, which sets goals to be achieved by 2030.
- Even though the new collection represents a step forward, Mango has a lot of work to do to fully embed these criteria across its operations.
Mango has designed its first denim collection based on circularity to make the garments easier to reuse and recycle, thereby promoting a second life for products.
Designing with circularity in mind
The new capsule collection comprises of denim women’s clothing, including some with dirty washes, such as trousers, skirts, jumpsuits, gilets and cropped jackets, in indigo and black, in silhouettes influenced by the 2000s as per current trends. Garments in which a low rise, cargo details, rips and wide fits predominate.
They have been designed with a single type of fibre, 100% cotton, at least 20% of which is recycled, while accessories such as rivets and jacron labels have been eliminated. To minimise waste during product development and reduce the number of samples produced, it used 3D digital design technology.
Mango said it minimised the environmental impact of the manufacturing process in aspects such as the use of chemicals and water. The garments contain a diagram explaining the circular design to customers, eliminating the need for paper labels.
How sustainable is denim?
Denim is a hugely popular fabric but is associated with significant environmental impacts. This starts at the source: it is mostly made from cotton, which requires 1500 gallons of water to grow just 1.5 pounds. The one kilo of cotton needed for just one pair of denim jeans requires 10,000 litres of water to grow – equivalent to what one person would drink in ten years.
Moreover, denim is often treated with synthetic indigo dye, produced with various hazardous chemicals. The use of metal accessories such as buttons, zippers and rivets, including leather-look labels and composition and care labels, makes such garments difficult to recycle once they are discarded.
As such, even though other fabrics could have made Mango’s capsule collection even more sustainable, the choice of design methods addresses some of the environmental issues associated with denim. Relying on recycled materials for only 20% of the total use, however, means 80% of the fabric will be made from virgin cotton – although the company has plans to improve this by the end of the decade.
Mango’s environmental pledge
The initiative is part of Mango’s sustainability strategy, Sustainable Vision 2030, launched in December 2022. One of its goals is to incorporate circular design criteria in its collections, so that by 2030 they will predominate in the design of its products, and 100% of fibres will be of sustainable origin or recycled.
By the end of the decade, Mango, which posted a €2.2 turnover in 2021, will increase circular design in its products, either by producing garments that are easier to recycle, committing to durability or using designs that produce less textile waste.
The circular design strategy establishes three policies in order to help close the loop. The first intends to create garments with a simpler design, with a single type of fabric or fewer accessories, to achieve greater recyclability; the second involves designing more durable garments by selecting materials with physical properties that have been certified by AITEX, reinforced garment construction and timeless design; the third focuses on optimising the materials used and the reincorporation of textile waste.
No time to waste
The fashion sector accounts for around 10% of the world’s pollution, consuming huge amounts of natural resources, energy and harmful chemicals. Textile production consumes around 98 million tons of non-renewable resources each year, but most of the fabric goes to waste. Around 80% of used clothing is downcycled, exported or landfilled, while it is estimated that textile waste during manufacturing is as high as 25%, mostly due to factory inefficiencies and incorrect demand projections.
Fast fashion has only fuelled these trends by boosting demand for constantly updated collections at cheap prices. Indeed, the fashion sector is expected to grow by around 49% between 2016 and 2030. The 62 million tonnes of textiles consumed each year is expected to reach 102 million tonnes by 2030, corresponding with a 63% increase in textile waste.
Companies should apply circular business models not only to reduce their exposure to reputational or regulatory risks, but also to tap new economic opportunities. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, these could opportunities will be worth $700 billion by 2030, as $500 billion is sacrificed every year due to clothes being disposed of without even being sold.
By embedding circularity in its sustainability strategy, Mango could position itself as one of the pioneers among the big players in the sector. With only seven years to go until 2030 and a huge multinational company to revolutionise, however, it will have to do way more work beyond a capsule collection.