An increasing number of businesses are finding inspiration in the circular economy model as the fashion industry continues to struggle with the effects it has on the environment. One such business is Generation Phoenix, formerly known as ELeather. Tapestry, Jaguar Land Rover, and Dr. Martens are just a few of the investors who contributed to Generation Phoenix’s recent $18 million growth capital. The 15-year-old upcycler from Peterborough, United Kingdom, creates a product that resembles leather but is actually made of up to 86% recycled material, including reclaimed leather and plastic. Generation Phoenix intends to expand into the luxury apparel and footwear markets with the additional funding.
For the fashion industry, which is infamous for its waste and overconsumption, this is a promising development. The fashion business, which accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, uses more energy than the aviation and shipping industries put together, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. In addition, the sector produces a significant quantity of garbage, with 92 million tons of textile waste thought to be created annually.
By promoting the reuse, repair, and recycling of resources and thereby keeping them in the economy for as long as feasible, the circular economy provides a solution to these issues. Some forward-thinking businesses, such Patagonia, which encourages customers to fix their clothing rather than discard it, and Adidas, which is creating footwear made from recycled ocean plastic, have already adopted this concept.
The leather business may undergo a transformation as a result of the leather-like product created by Generation Phoenix. The manufacture of leather is famously resource-intensive; it uses a lot of water, energy, and frequently dangerous chemicals. Also, there are issues with the environmental effects of cattle husbandry and a large portion of the leather used in fashion comes from nations with subpar standards for the treatment of animals.
The product from Generation Phoenix, which employs recycled materials and does away with the necessity for animal products, may revolutionize the leather business. It is crucial to remember that there are still obstacles to be solved in order to scale up manufacturing and make sure the final product is actually sustainable. It is admirable that the company wants to use less or no virgin resources at all in its goods and that it has commercialized a bio-based coating system and alternatives for synthetic materials used in the manufacturing process.
Ultimately, Generation Phoenix’s performance shows how the circular economy model has the potential to spur environmentally friendly innovation in the fashion sector. We can lessen our environmental impact and build a more sustainable future by reevaluating how we produce and consume clothing. The apparel business needs to take initiative and embrace the circular economy.