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Knowledge category: Papers and reports

A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future

Updated on 19.09.2023

This report outlines a vision for a system that works, delivering long-term benefits: a new textiles economy based on the principles of a circular economy. It offers a direction of travel in which the industry can agree on and focus its efforts.

Author: Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Year of publication: 2017

More information

The textiles system operates in an almost completely linear way – large amounts of non-renewable resources are extracted to produce clothes that are often used for only a short time, after which the materials are mostly sent to landfill or incinerated. In a new textiles economy, clothes, textiles and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy afterwards, never ending up as waste. This vision is distinct from, and complements, ongoing efforts to make the textiles system more sustainable by minimising its negative impacts. With specific emphasis on innovation towards a different system, a new textiles economy presents an opportunity to deliver substantially better economic, societal, and environmental outcomes.

This report describes the drawbacks of the current linear system, presents a vision for a circular textiles industry, and discusses key circular ambitions for the industry. Proposed ambitions consider the role of actors across the value chain. This can be relevant for cities and regions that are at the beginning of their circular economy journey.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

Cities and regions can use this report to learn about ambitions in circular textiles and better understand what they can do to facilitate the transition and support local actors in the development of Circular Systemic Solutions that focus on the textiles industry.


CEAP2 key product value chain

e.g. electrical engineering, furniture and interior, textile and fashion