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Asos Taps These 8 Design Principles for First Circular Collection

Asos is taking the circularity plunge with a new collection in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion.

The U.K.-based e-tailer is poised to debut a new 29-piece, trend-forward line of clothing and accessories Monday. But unlike its standard offerings, this range exemplifies the brand’s commitment, made at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2018, to train all of its designers on circular principles by 2020.

The company created and launched a training program with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (a division of the London College of Fashion), which has since been rolled out and made available to its full design team. The British digital platform also joined up with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative, encouraging collaboration between the industry’s prominent voices to create “a textiles economy fit for the 21st century.”

The newly minted collection was made with eight bespoke design principles in mind, including the use of zero-waste design and pattern cutting methods, employing manufacturing techniques that minimize waste, using materials with recycled input, selecting materials and construction methods that promote durability, designing versatile products that can be styled multiple ways, using the same recyclable material throughout a single product, designing products for easy disassembly and recycling, and using techniques that allow for upcycling at the end of a product’s life.

The eight principles speak to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s three tenets of a circular economy, which are to reduce waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. Each product in the collection meets at least two of these qualifications.

The fall line includes oversized styling on items like cardigans, T-shirts and denim, along with throwback ‘90s micro-prints and acid washes. Bright colors and key neutrals are accented by dramatic tailoring, square necklines and high-volume dresses. Accessories, like bum bags and mix-and-match sterling silver jewelry, provide a means of accenting the ensembles with ease.

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Bringing the focus on circularity straight to the shopper, each product garment tag features a QR code. Scanning the code allows consumers to learn more about Asos’ circular design principles and how their purchase was made.

“What this collection shows is that you don’t need to make a choice between the circular economy and fashion, and that you can make sustainable products without compromising on design or on price,” Vanessa Spence, head of design at Asos, said in a statement.

“With all of our designers now trained in circular principles and our first circular collection out the door,” she said, “we’re excited to see how we can take this project forward and use our size and scale to share our expertise with our suppliers but also other brands and retailers.”