Circular Fashion Week – A Review

In the week from the 19th to the 24th of February, the Circular Fashion Week took place in the AIL (Angewandte Innovation Lab). During that week a variety of events took place under the umbrella of sustainable fashion and circular economy.

The kick-off event was a Fashion Repair Café that offered the opportunity to repair clothes and other fashion goods with the support of the professionals Esther Weinberger and Maria Sulzer. The main focus of this event was to emphasize the DIY mentality and to show the attendants that it’s worth extending the lifetime of our clothes instead of throwing them away because of  a minor hole for example.

The next major event was an Expert Talk and took place on Wednesday. The opening speech was delivered by Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas Bartl from TU Vienna, who provided detailed information on the effects of the textile industry as well as on the waste treatment hierarchy of the EU. Besides offering insights into his research on fiber technology he also used an illustrative example (sport socks)  in order to explain the difficulties with textile fibers and the resulting problems concerning recycling. The second speech was delivered by Caroline Ledl from Lenzing Group, who was talking about the technological production of fibers from Lyocell as well as about how Lenzing contributes to the concept of circular economy by applying RefibraTM fibers which are exclusively made of recycled materials. The third and last talk was by Pia Mathis and Thomas Haschka from Xylinum Fabrics, who provided information on their innovative idea for the sustainable fashion industry. Their idea is about fiber production from bacterial cellulose made in the laboratory. The simplified equation underlying this sustainable textile fiber production process is as follows: bacteria + water + sugar = textile fiber. All three speeches were truly exciting and offered very enlightening insights into the practices and innovations in the sustainable fashion industry. The event was then rounded down by giving all guests the chance to directly address their questions to the four experts, which led to a very vivid and interesting discussion.

On Thursday, several fashion designers were given the opportunity to exhibit at the Sustainable Fashion Exhibition. There, guests not only had the chance to quarry for fashion brands such as Fitico Sportswear, Endlos Fesch, MaMaMu, KLAR, Studio Myagi and Gabarage, but were also given the chance to meet the young designers and to address them with all kinds of questions and concerns. Another nice feature of this event was a quiz with which one had the opportunity to win coupons for all exhibiting brands.

Friday afternoon was then again dedicated to the Fashion Repair Café and the professionals from Recycling Kosmos. Some unfinished projects from Monday were then completed and again the DIY and the circular fashion spirit was emphasized. Many different garments such as socks, trousers, bags, etc. got repaired or up-cycled and thereby their lifetime extended.

On Saturday Endlos Fesch, the first fashion library in Vienna, had their Pop-Up Store event all afternoon. Endlos Fesch offers high quality and premium design clothing for women – for RENT! Old and new customers had the chance to return or borrow a fancy piece of clothing for the office or an evening event.

The culmination of the Circular Fashion Week was a Fair Fashion Show. The organizers and hosts Theresa and Elisabeth from Vienna Shares guided the more than 50 guests through a very diversified evening with great music and a wonderful fashion show consisting of 7 different sustainable fashion brands. Subsequently, the end of the Circular Fashion Week was a vibrant „Closing Party“  that again offered the opportunity to exchange opinions and to settle uncertainties regarding circular fashion.

The week was an eventful, eye-opening and path-breaking one – overall, a complete success!