Berlin Circular Fashion: our approach to move it forward

Berlin Circular Fashion: our approach to move it forward

At the beginning of 2019 Circular Berlin and Future Fashion Forward e.V. teamed up to organize the fourth and last workshop of the Circular Berlin event series targeting the issues of local waste streams in Berlin and bringing together municipalities and industry actors in different fields. After looking at the Construction Industry, at Material Urban Remanufacturing specifics and at the Food Sector in Berlin, this time the focus topic was Berlin Fashion & Textiles.

On 10th of May stakeholders from the German textile and fashion industry, representatives from the Berlin municipalities and of the recycling industry met to discuss the challenges and possible local solutions to the main issues connected to textile waste flows and opportunities in Berlin.

The workshop has been organised with the support of Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie, BeShared project, Berlin Senat UVK and its Re-Use initiative and Circular Fashion. We were also very thankful to conduct this ultimate workshop in Zalando BTD location.

Challenges on the Berlin way to become a Circular Fashion Capital

A first round of expert talks presented to the audience a bigger picture of Circular economy applied to the fashion sector giving inputs on: Fashion and sustainable textile business in Berlin (Julia Krüger from Berlin Partner), Circular fashion value chain (Ina Budde from Circular Fashion), Second-Hand and textile waste flows in Berlin  (Julia Finzenkeller from Young Caritas) and Textile waste recycling approach.

As remained objective we kept the focus on Berlin challenges around the topic of Circular Fashion and further steps to overcome them. Together with more than 60 participants we strived for the answer:

How can Berlin address the challenges of the global industry such as textiles and fashion on the local level through circular economy?

The challenges were structured around material supply, design and production, user phase, end of life and material recovery through up-cycling and recycling. Obviously the challenges remained interconnected across value chain. However the founding showed that access to materials & connection of different expertise, materials collection ans separation in Berlin, as well as overproduction and overstock of the global industry, lack of economic incentives to start production locally, and quality vs. costs of the secondary materials remains the big issue.

The solutions to overcome challenges

We targeted all the collected challenges from the first session and aimed to narrow down Berlin specifics across identified challenges and to elaborate the possible specific solutions necessary for the city of Berlin.

It has been a session of intensive exchange between different actors coming from distinct fields, bringing up interesting aspect sometimes unknown to the other participants and highlighting the opportunity for important partnerships and collaborations between the city of Berlin and its fashion industry.

For all the specific results about the circular economy impact that can be achieved in Berlin in the textile field and for the possible next steps, please have a look on our complete workshop report here

For the snapshot of our workshop we want to thank Sinnwerkstatt. Check it out!

As we would like to keep on working on this topic, we decided to replicate the workshop in different cities in Germany and to develop new projects in the area applying for public founds. If you are interested in cooperating with us or if you have ideas for the next steps to implement a circular textile economy in Berlin or in other German cities, please contact us! We are all hears and would be pleased to collaborate!

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