Circular fashion is a concept that aims to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry by extending the lifespan of clothing and accessories. It involves practices such as renting, reselling, repairing, and recycling garments, instead of discarding them after use. One company that is at the forefront of this movement is Advanced Clothing Solutions (ACS), based in Eurocentral, Scotland.
ACS: Europe’s largest circular and sustainable fashion hub
ACS was founded in 1997 as a rental fulfilment and clothing renewal service provider for the men’s formal hire market. Since then, it has expanded into womenswear, childrenswear, and outerwear, employing 150 people today. ACS collaborates with fashion brands and retailers, offering to streamline rental, subscription, and resale models to minimise waste and capture value from existing inventory. With a vast scale, its warehouse can store more than three million clothing items and process more than six million units annually. From eco-friendly cleaning to brand authentication, garment repair, photography, tailored branded packaging, and delivery, the company oversees the entire returns and resale process for all fashion goods and accessories.
ACS has received a series of prestigious accolades in recent years, including the King’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2023, the Marie Claire Sustainability Awards, and the Drapers Sustainability Awards. The company has also gained B-Corp certification and is a Living Wage employer.
HRH The Princess Royal visits ACS
On 18 January 2024, ACS welcomed a special guest: HRH The Princess Royal, who serves as the President of the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT). Her Royal Highness visited the 200,000 sq ft state-of-the-art ACS facility, which is the largest of its kind in Europe, to learn more about the circular fashion business models. She had a chance to meet with ACS’s dedicated and passionate workforce and hear about the company’s water conservation programme and its sustainable development programme for schools. She was also given more information about a new ozone sanitation process developed with the University of the West of Scotland and the ACS apprenticeship programme for future talent.
The Royal Visit forms part of UKFT’s mission to support the sustainable growth of the UK fashion and textile industry. Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “It is a real pleasure for us to be able to show HRH The Princess Royal the pioneering work a company like ACS is doing in Scotland, driving action in the transition to the circular economy and investing in the next generation of skilled workers.”
The benefits of circular fashion
Circular fashion is not only good for the environment, but also for the economy and society. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, circular fashion could generate $560 billion of economic benefits by 2030, by reducing the need for new materials, energy, and waste management. Circular fashion could also create new jobs, improve working conditions, and empower consumers to make more informed and ethical choices. Some of the benefits of circular fashion include:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and chemical pollution
- Preserving natural resources and biodiversity
- Enhancing product quality and durability
- Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Creating new revenue streams and business opportunities
- Supporting local communities and social causes
How to join the circular fashion movement
As consumers, we can all play a part in supporting circular fashion and making a positive difference for the planet and people. Here are some ways we can join the circular fashion movement:
- Buy less and buy better: Choose quality over quantity, and opt for clothing that is made from sustainable materials, has a timeless design, and fits well.
- Rent, borrow, or swap: Instead of buying new outfits for special occasions, consider renting, borrowing, or swapping them with friends, family, or online platforms.
- Repair, reuse, or upcycle: If your clothing gets damaged, stained, or worn out, don’t throw it away. Try to repair it yourself, take it to a tailor, or transform it into something new.
- Resell or donate: If you no longer want or need your clothing, don’t let it end up in landfill. Sell it online, at a consignment store, or at a garage sale. Or donate it to a charity, a social enterprise, or a clothing bank.
- Recycle or compost: If your clothing is beyond repair or reuse, recycle it through a collection scheme, a drop-off point, or a textile recycling facility. Or compost it if it is made from natural fibres.
By adopting these practices, we can help extend the life cycle of our clothing and accessories, and contribute to a more circular and sustainable fashion industry.