Circular Economy Objectives
As a for-profit company Latimmier is part of a system that is built on exponential and environmentally unsustainable growth. At the moment our industry operates mostly under a linear fashion model designed to make infinite amounts of clothes from finite resources.
In a linear economy, one takes resources, makes products, uses them briefly, throws them away and repeats the process. According to a briefing released in May 2022 by the European Parliament, less than half of used clothes are collected for reuse or recycling when they are no longer needed, and only 1% are recycled into new clothes. In Europe, textile waste (including clothes and other textiles) is a 12.6 million tonnes a year.
The opposite of a linear economy is a circular economy. Circularity is a holistic approach that is rooted in the principles of Indigenous ancestries. It aims to work in sustainable closed-loop systems where everything old becomes something new. In practical terms this means reducing the amount of resources used to make our clothes (to levels that our planet can sustain) and diverting products from being burned or dumped to landfills (particularly landfills in the global south).
As a brand we need to be honest and recognize that while both social and ecological sustainability have been at the core of our business from the get-go, we are still learning about circularity and how we can implement circular systems to all aspects of our product development. The benefit of being a small and independent brand is the capability to be flexible and quick when comes to developing new processes.
As stated in our mission statement, we aim to generate better practices of producing, consuming, and working with fashion. After educating ourselves, we have identified three objectives to make our products as circular as possible, following our mission statement. These objectives also follow the EU Circularity Economy Action Plan (CEAP) and Ellen McArthur Foundation's Circular Business Models report.
1. Our products need to have maximized lifespans
Not only do our products need to physically last long, their design and their purpose needs to mean something on an intangible, immaterial level.
What are we doing about it?
Materials & quality
We have made the conscious decision to use materials, hardware and factories of a certain higher quality. Furthermore, we produce extremely small quantities of products (dozens, rather than hundreds). All of these result in a higher price range, but we see that as vital for us, as it allows us to make better choices.
Purpose of design
At Latimmier we consider ourselves as value based designers and creatives, and for us authenticity and questions like what is it about are equally important to what does it look like. We don't chase trends or vibes in the zeitgeist, but rather we aim to carve our own path that results in designs and products that have time-lasting meaning and purpose for our community.
Our products are easy to care. Sure, products such as blazers or other tailored pieces may require dry clean due to their complex construction, but overall our products are mostly machine washable and don't require dry cleaning.
We don't release collections with specific seasons attached, rather we simply number them. In 2022, roughly 20% of products in our collections were carried on to the next season, with a goal to support better consumption habits. We also always carry designs from previous collections on to new ones in new colorways or materials. We want to support a sense of continuation and slower pace to push against the rapid pace of newness that drives the linear fashion economy.
2. Our products need to be recyclable
Not only do our products need to be made of recycled or certified sustainable materials, they need to be made of materials that can be recycled once the product reaches the end of its lifespan. This may mean either cutting the product into pieces to sew new garments or using the fibers of the product to create new raw materials.
What are we doing about it?
Using recycled materials
In 2022 18% of all materials were recycled or upcycled deadstock materials. In addition, all of our non-metallic buttons are 100% biodegradeable. Our neck labels and the tapes of our zippers are made of 100% recycled polyester.
Recyclability of products
In 2022 69% of all materials were made of fibers without laminations or other finishes that can be recycled. See our preferred and prohibited materials list for more information on how we've ensured that fibers are not mixed in ways that would prevent them from being recycled. The recyclable material breakdown in 2022 is as follows:
- 46% were made of cellulose based fibers that can be recycled
- 18% of all materials were made of 80-100% wool fibers that can be recycled
- 5% were made of 100% polyester that can be recycled
We are in the process of developing a product code system that allows us and our community to easily track the measurements of each of our products for circular upcycling purposes. Specific codes will be allocated to base patterns that easily indicate what types of garments could a given Latimmier product be upcycled to. We are currently in the process of applying funding for the development of this system.
3. We need to educate and empower our community to make better choices
Good quality, long lasting design from recyclable materials isn't enough. We also need to make sure our community knows how to take care of our products from washing to simple alterations and repair. Furthermore, we need enable our community to resell and rent our products and prevent them from ending up on landfills.
What are we doing about it?
We are currently working on our Material Guide that will be released by end of November 2023. It provides information on the textiles and fibers found in our products, and educates on their advantages and potential disadvantages. We also have a Preferred & Prohibited Materials List in place for further information on material choices we make.
Garment Care Guide
We are currently working on our Garment Care Guide that will be released by end of November 2023. It provides deeper information on the care labels on our products and gives other tips, like how to care for our designs in a sustainable way. In 2024 this guide will expand and provide information on how to do easy basic repairs to further expand a products lifespan.
Latimmier 2nd hand
Following our Sustainability Objectives for 2025, we will pilot a 2nd hand marketplace for pre-owned Latimmier products. The pilot may be executed either online or through physical pop-up stores.
Following our Sustainability Objectives for 2025, we will offer a repair and adjustment service for our local clients in Finland. Ultimately the goal is to expand this service to clients abroad as well
We have been piloting a renting service to our garments in 2022-2023. This service has deliberately not been made public, rather we have offered it as a solution for our community members upon request. According to Ellen McArthur Foundation, a leading NGO that promotes circular economies, there are several challenges related to reselling and renting services that may prevent them from benefitting the environment. Here are three challenges we've identified during our pilot so far:
- Dry cleaning/washing garments after one use is not environmentally sustainable and goes against our Garment Care Guide
- Shipping items back and forth makes the carbon footprint of a rented product very large. This remains a problem until we have a physical store
- For a small brand like Latimmier, making our renting service size-inclusive is a challenge. We produce extremely small amounts of product, sometimes only 1-2 per size and this makes it difficult for us to allocate a lot of sizes for a renting service. Size inclusivity for renting (and our collections in general) would require us to grow and have more recourses at our disposal
Following our Sustainability Objectives for 2025, we will pilot an online lecture or podcast discussion and/or other learning material on diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) for free on our online platforms.
Please note that the contents of this page are a continuous work in progress. We regularly research and re-examine our circular economy objectives and they may be subject to change in the future. If you would like to help us be better and comment this section, please don't hesitate to email us at email@example.com
In addition to our own expertise, we have used the following as sources of information:
- Copenhagen Fashion Week NEWTALENT mentoring
- Ellen McArthur Foundation - Circular Business Models report
- EU Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP)
- European Environment Agency (EEA) - Circular Economy
- European Parliament - Textiles and the Environment briefing
- Finnish Textile and Fashion - Textile Fiber Guide (in Finnish)
- The Cutting Room Floor podcast - The Afterlife of Clothing Feat. Liz Ricketts
- The Slow Factory - Fashion and Colonialism online lecture
- The Sustainable Fashion Forum - What is Circular Fashion?
This page was last updated November 4th 2023