What will be the challenges of sustainable sourcing in 2022?
The circular economy between recycling and upcycling
Part 1 Recycling
The Agec law (Anti Gaspi Circular Economy), which in France will require brands to manage circularity, is shaking up the priorities of material sourcing. While cancel culture* and denunciations on social networks are flourishing, fashion brands in all sectors have no choice but to concentrate their efforts and surround themselves with the best suppliers.
“Sustainable sourcing means thinking about the sourcing of raw materials in an ethical and responsible way, by integrating the overall design and end of life of the product. The systemic approach to sourcing means using the sourcing dynamic + the production dynamic + the redistribution dynamic in a sustainable way, while being aware of the carbon impact.”
Extract from ENTADA TEXTILE’s master classes on the systemic approach to sustainable sourcing.
Indeed from January 2022, the Agec law will be applicable and brands are looking for new ways to think and secure their sourcing. The Interfilière trade show, which through its Paris and Shengzen editions and partnerships with Curve New York, deals with sustainable sourcing issues at an international level, is looking at these issues that are rewriting global sourcing strategies.
WHAT ARE THE REALITIES OF RECYCLING?
According to the official body ADEME (Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie), recycling aims to use raw materials from waste to reintroduce them into a new production cycle. 
Recycling is a means for circular sourcing and its challenge revolves around two main issues: micro-plastics, and the industrial scale consequences of pre- or post-consumer recycling. Initiatives by manufacturers and industrialists to organise the recycling of fibres of petrochemical (polyester) or artificial (viscose) origin are growing. The main limitations of recycling are the upstream and downstream design of the yarn. Indeed, during the dismantling stage, the management of components and finishes (dyeing, finishing, sizing, etc.) can be problematic. A dismantled yarn is often more fragile, less silky and often requires treatments or virgin fibres to strengthen it and bring it up to market expectations. Recycled synthetic yarn fabrics are very present in the bathing sector. Internally, manufacturers are beginning to implement relevant solutions to reduce the problem of micro-plastics that come off the material during washing or abrasion.
Entrepreneurial and institutional projects are proposing successful actions, such as the CETI (European Centre for Innovative Textiles) or the Mon Coton entrepreneurial initiative (Le Slip français & 1083), which offer solutions and future sources of recycled cotton. For the activewear market, Hammerle & Vogel has created an embroidered stretch band with a recycled tulle lining to avoid chafing. The Illuna Group has designed a beautiful knit with inlaid lace, made from recycled microfibre polyamide yarn. Or the infinite recycled and recyclable swimming costume, born from the collaboration of the brands 1083 X Le slip français. This swimming costume achieves both the performance of recycling and circularity, since for the end consumer the product is returnable and the product will be recycled.
CIRCULARITY: OPEN LOOP & CLOSED LOOP RECYCLING
In circular sourcing, the question of closed loop (recycling that remains in the textile loop for the use of a garment, whose textile function is not changed) or open loop (recycling that leaves the textile loop, the fashion sector and whose destination is diverted) is unavoidable. Closed loop recycling provides a more direct circular flow.
Recycling and circular options must be understood as alternatives and avoid the vicious circle of the alibi of responsible material available in profusion because it is recycled. The perfect sustainable material does not exist and virtuous sourcing depends mostly on the concrete and sincere commitment of brands, which will create the demand for this new generation of consumers who detect fakes.
In conclusion, thinking about sourcing from the design stage requires a new definition of CSR: Social and Environmental Redistribution. At Interfilière Paris, we are taking a close interest in these new technologies and production capacities that are more respectful of the environment. In the next article, we dig into the subject of the circular through the medium upcycling.