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Asos Launches Circular Design Training Program with London College of Fashion

School’s in for Asos.

The United Kingdom’s largest online-only fashion retailer has teamed up with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at the London College of Fashion to pilot a circular fashion training program for its designers.

Part of the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment that Asos made at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit last May, the “bespoke” course will teach participants to design products that can be reused and regenerated, rather than disposed of at the end of their lives.

Waste has become a critical issue for the fashion industry. Roughly 87 percent of the 53 million tons of clothing produced globally each year is either incinerated or landfilled, according to a 2017 study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Meanwhile, less than 1 percent of the materials used to create clothing is recycled into new clothing,

As part of the program’s soft launch, which began this month, 15 members of Asos’s design team will run through a series of half-day workshops, discussions and drop-in sessions, where they will delve into concepts, case studies and real-life applications of circular principles with CSF researchers.

The results of these sessions will help refine the program, which will then be rolled out to the rest of Asos’s staff on a continual basis.

“With this pilot we’re making sure our designers have the knowledge and skills they need to put sustainability and circularity into practice, ensuring our fashion remains a force for good,” said Vanessa Spence, design director at Asos. “By designing products with circularity in mind right from the start, we’ll ensure that they are made responsibly, remain in use for as long as possible once they’re sold, and don’t cause unnecessary waste at the end of their lives.”

To innovate, brands like Asos need to do so from a “critically informed perspective,” added Dilys Williams, director at CSF.

“Good design involves understanding and valuing all elements that come together in making and enjoying fashion,” Williams said. “We are delighted to be working with Asos, whose bold commitments continue to lead the way in sustainability, from sourcing and design for circularity to their collaborative approach, which in turn is improving sustainability across the fashion industry.”

The program arrives a week after Asos said it will no longer stock products containing mohair, cashmere, silk, feathers, down, bone, teeth or shell.