Zara teams up with Circ to launch recycled-fibre collection

RACHEL CERNANSKY  April 21, 2023

Made from polyester-cotton waste, the garments can be recycled again — a necessary capability for building a circular economy.

A new Zara collection made in partnership with circular textile company Circ could be a breakthrough for the industry because it is made from existing textile waste that can be recycled again after use.

The collection includes four lightweight women’s garments in burgundy, made from either lyocell or polyester, both produced with polyester-cotton textile waste. This is a notable development — blended fibres like polyester-cotton have been virtually impossible to recycle, getting in the way of the industry’s goals for a circular economy. Circ says it can not only separate the polyester from the cotton, but can transform both back into new textiles. Zara’s lyocell garments, priced at $69.90 each, are made with 50 percent recycled cotton fibre that Circ separates out from the polycotton waste and processes into a lyocell-like cellulose. The other 50 percent of the material in the garment is conventional lyocell. The polyester garments are made with 43 percent recycled fibre — similarly, the polyester fibres that Circ separates out from the polycotton — and 57 percent conventional polyester.

“[They are] the first, to our knowledge globally, circular products made from polycotton waste,” says Circ founder Peter Majeranowski. The collection will be available from today across 11 markets, and is the beginning of what he says is “definitely a long-term commitment”. 

“We have really great visibility all the way to the C-suite of the organisation and the board. For me that’s really important because I can see that their commitment is there, it’s a long-term commitment,” he says.

Zara and parent company Inditex, which invested in Circ last year, say the move will drive progress towards a circular fashion industry. It’s hard to see how a single capsule collection will change the overall impact that one of the world’s biggest fast fashion companies has on the planet, or its business model of relying on continued growth in production and sales. However, it does move the needle on what can be expected of how fast fashion companies source materials and opens up possibilities for handling garment end-of-life more responsibly and sustainably than today’s norms

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