The environmental cost of fast fashion for our clothing and homes is old news. While waste-related news tends to focus on consumer habits, the reality is that way more pollution is generated during manufacturing and production. That’s why at Sömn Home our mission right from day one has been to create a luxurious line of sustainable linen bedding and bath towels in Canada. Our wellness-obsessed home textiles meet the most discerning standards for style and sustainability.
Sadly, the textile industry in general and the fashion industry, in particular, grew up with the take and throw model. The environment wasn’t a consideration. Budget or luxury—it didn’t matter. Most manufacturers simply don’t consider what happens to goods once they’ve been purchased—or the energy and waste that goes into making a product.
This model is known as the open-loop system, and it’s been traditionally favoured because it’s faster, easier, and cheaper to operate. It’s also responsible for annually generating a mass of land waste larger than the size of France. Camille Tagle of FABSCRAP, a fabric recycling non-profit based in New York explains that for every pound of consumer waste, almost 40 pounds are created when making the product. It’s not sustainable. Moreover, the profit loss during COVID has led many mass markets to focus solely on efficient output, without any regard for human and environmental costs.
Fortunately, people today are taking notice, and this growing awareness has given rise to ethical fashion, slow fashion, sustainable fashion—as well as concepts like circular design and closed-loop systems.
What is a close-loop system?
It sounds complicated, but these are all reactions to address the huge waste generated by the textile industry. There is a refreshing surge of businesses committed to doing things differently, taking into consideration all aspects of the supply and manufacturing in a way that respects people, animals, and the planet. Closed-loop systems in particular are gaining attention. Sometimes called circular design, the objective is to keep textiles in circulation for as long as possible.
How does a close-loop system work?
A manufacturer who follows a closed-loop model deeply considers the impact of their brand at every step—from how raw materials are cultivated to what happens end of life. The objective is both conserving natural resources and diverting waste from landfills. In this way, the closed-loop design goes even further than sustainable production, because it holds businesses and manufacturers responsible and accountable for the waste they produce.
Today, we’re seeing more brands taking responsibility for end-of-life merchandise. From launching recycling programs and labels dedicated to up-cycled goods, the textile industry is slowly changing, but we believe more can be done—and must be done.
At Sömn Home, we believe everyone has the power to make a positive impact, and it all starts with conscious decision making. From bedding, towels to sponge cloths, we are committed to sourcing products made from biodegradable and recyclable materials as a defence against consumer waste pollution. We choose to work with low-impact producers and certified partners. We design for minimum waste, audit our sourcing and supply change, always consider how we can proactively make our products more beautiful and planet-friendly.
How can you make a positive impact?
It’s refreshing to see so many independent labels committed to change, but large fashion manufacturers have to start owning waste generation for the closed-loop system to succeed. We can do a lot as consumers. By simply thinking about what we put on our bodies and bring into our homes, we can support labels committed to planet-friendly practices and collectively work to create a brighter, more sustainable future.