The field of Circularity is new to the Sustainable Fashion industry but much need to help undertaking our planetary challenges such as pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss. It takes into consideration the complete flow of materials. This flow used to be seen as linear but never is! Resources come from somewhere and once a garment is no longer in use also must return somewhere. So every second there are tonnes of materials/ garments being wasted. Designing for circularity allows a better management of the different flows of materials. It is a concept that takes into consideration many different aspects including, types of fabrics, easy of repair, re-use, recycling, deconstruction and reconstruction, biodegradability and more.
Circularity is part of Elementum since its origin. At Elementum we create MODULAR MULTIFUNCTIONAL GARMENTS (that can be used in different ways) and we have ZERO WASTE as a principle for our company. In terms of Circularity we are committed to :
Long lasting Design to expand the life of each garment
Our pieces are designed to stay with you for a long stretch of life. That is because of the quality of the fibers and the making process that we choose. More importantly it is also because of our pieces' multi-functionality and timeless, convertible and/or reversible design. This means that with time you will discover a “new” piece hiding in your Elementum piece. So, with Elementum you will have less clothes but more opportunities to dress differently and for a long time.
Using Zero waste techniques and limited production runs
At Elementum we treasure our resources. All of Elementum’s knitwear is designed to be and produced with ZERO waste methods. For every item of knitwear we make, we use the total and complete piece of jersey fabric/raw material. There are no cut-offs from our cutting process. In addition, our all knits are tubular and seamless. With our designs being tubular and seamless, we create less waste as no thread or extra fabric is required.
Our latest line of woven garments is still not totally ZERO waste. That is because of the difference of flexibility in relation to the knitwear production. But we are working on converting all our designs into Zero waste patterns. In the meanwhile we reuse the little cutoffs into new products in our studio.
Our production runs are mostly made to order allowing us to avoid waste and overproduction of raw materials and as well as final products.
Using Low Environmental Impact Fabrics
At Elementum we use low environmental impact fabrics in our garments.
When we choose our fabrics we take in consideration the environmental, social and economical impact of its fibers and choose to sourced as locally as possible. For our clothes, we have chosen to use natural fibers, such as organic cotton, linen, hemp and other low impact manufactured fibers plant-based fibers like TENCEL™ and cupro. These require fewer resources to be produced, create less pollution, and decompose back into the earth far more quickly than synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon. Most of our fabrics are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified.
In addition, we follow strict rules about not mixing natural and synthetic fibers so that our pieces could be fully recyclable or composted. We have our own initiative called Close the Loop project, where we encourage other brands and consumers to be more aware of what to do with their clothes at the end of their product cycle of life.
Using dead stock fabrics
Surplus (Deadstock) is simply a fabric that has been sitting around as a leftover from fashion brands or textile mills. And so one of the main aspects making it sustainable is that when used it has been repurposed instead of thrown away and ending up as a waste in a landfill. So using it allows the circulation of materials and prevents further unnecessary waste.
On a short term Surplus also saves energy and reduces the carbon footprint by making further fabric production needless. However on a long term we know is a cycle based on overproduction that should not exist, therefore at Elementum limits the use of surpluses to about 10% of the collection. We prefer to invest on fabrics that are made sustainably from its origin and contribute on a long term to a conscious living. Furthermore Elementum uses fabric SURPLUSES from Portuguese factories only, to save on transportation, and exclusively from plant- based fibers.
Elementum uses recycled buttons from Louropel that are made from corozo, cotton, recycled paper, semolina, vegetables, fruit and wood.
Recyclability creating monocycle products
Thinking on the deconstruction of garments and the recyclability of its parts we limit the combination of materials or component in the same product. At Elementum we mix the minimum materials as possible to allow a good recycling, and not the down-cycling, of the materials.
When asked by our clients Elementum´s seamstress D. Olga repairs our changes our garments according to the clients needs. In addition we are currently working on a care and repair section for our website to provide more information and share ideas to expand the life of clothes. Our knits come with extra yarn in case repair is needed. Check our mending tips here.
Take-back Program (Sell One, BuyOne)
At Elementum we do not have our own Take-Back Program yet. But we are associated with the SELL 1 BUY 1 initiative by White Stamp. This is a Local ( Portuguese) initiative that allows people to sell the clothes they no longer use or want and with the credits they receive they can buy new clothes from Portuguese sustainable brands. This system not only stimulates the circularity of the existing clothes but also the access to sustainable clothes. The initiative accepts only clothes from specific brands (but a wide range that is constantly updated) that have a minimum guaranty of quality to be keep in circulation. This clothes sold to the initiative are then re sold in the same country via existing web platforms or in cooperation with local second hand shops.
Know more about SELL 1 BUY 1 here.
Code for product traceability
Elementum pieces are designed as relationships. It is important to share with you all the connections they have, so that your relationship with your Elementum pieces will be as positive, slow, enjoyable and meaningful as it can be. Therefore on each product page you have access to information about our supply chain that made that specific product. Each of our garments also come with a paper tag containing a Q&R code that shows a video of how to wear but also where and by who it was manufactured. We are working on this aspect to increase the level of traceability in terms of fiber production.
Re-use waste fabric to minimize textile waste.
At Elementum nothing is considered a waste. We try and see the value in everything. With the minimal waste that is occasionally created, we create and design new products. For example our NANO collection of hand knitted necklaces is made from dying and knitting faults/mistakes. Another example is our QUINTO scarfs made from silk printed tryouts and mistakes. As we treasure our resources our aim is to keep the material quality and avoid down-cycling the materials.
See more about our up-cycling accessories here.
If you have questions or suggestions on our Circularity email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we will be happy to share more information with you.