We’re happy to announce that Birdsong is partnering with Shwap, the world’s first circular fashion marketplace. Our duty of care, to our garments, our customers and the planet, shouldn’t end at the point of purchase. So we’re excited at the potential of this; partnering with Shwap will allow us to track the lifecycle of our garments and be more responsible about what happens to them after they’ve been sold.
Shwap is a resale marketplace where users can buy and sell second hand clothes from their favourite brands. It is powered by a unique product lifecycle tracker that follows garments as they move between buyer and seller. Garments on shwap can be sold, booked for repairs, donated and eventually recovered by brands for effective recycling. Shwap aims to end fashion waste by enabling brands to become circular, and by helping shoppers get more from their wardrobes.
The number of garments the fashion industry produces has grown year on year since the 1970s. This is because brands rely on selling new styles to earn revenue, so they produce more than their customers need. This year alone the biggest fashion companies have produced over 84million clothes. This level of production is unsustainable to the supply chain, as increasing amounts of land and fresh water are used to pump out more clothes. More often than not that clothing is made with synthetic materials like polyester which aren’t great to wear and do not biodegrade. As a result of fast fashion consumption, in the UK, the average person wears less than 10% of their wardrobe.
It is also not sustainable to our recycling infrastructure, and as a result currently we recycle less than 1% of the clothing that is produced.
The UK currently sends 300,000 tonnes of clothing into landfill each year. That needs to end, we need to wear what we have for longer, sell what we no longer wear, and when we buy, buy from brands that can and want to manage the lifecycle of their clothes.
To reduce the impact of fashion on the planet (an impact dissapporopriantley carried by people living in the Global South) brands need to slow down, produce better and produce less. In doing so brands become ‘slow’.
What is Circular fashion?
There are many different perspectives on what circular fashion is - from repairing clothes so that they last longer, reselling them, to rental, prioritising sustainable materials and garment recycling. However the best definition is a holistic one, circular fashion is where garments are made from regenerative materials, designed to be worn as long as possible, and then recovered at the end of their lifecycle for effective recycling and regeneration.
Shwap works with brands to digitise your clothes so that you can sell them with ease. In your digital wardrobe you will see clothing you’ve purchased from partner brands (like Birdsong), there you can build outfits, resell and even book repairs too (coming soon).
By tracking the products over time, Shwap are able to get industry leading insight into how garments are used over time, this information can go on to help brands design garments that last. And at the end of the garments lifespan it will be able to divert that garment to where its best recycled or regenerated back into the ecosystem.