The Circularity Roadmap for Apparel Brands:

•Takes a SYSTEMS LEVEL APPROACH to describe the circular system dynamics and aggregate resources, recommendations and proven models

SYNTHESIZES PRE-EXISTING TOOLS, stakeholders and resources, diminishing a user’s need to vet resources and partners themselves in assessing best fit

•Has PHASED, ACTIONABLE STEPS to create stepping stones toward circularity for stakeholders across the spectrum of expertise and function

•Is FREELY ACCESSIBLE to remove barriers to entry for circular practices (such as l expertise, cost, participation in working groups and need for executive-level buy-in). FWD Impact partners can provide you with more customized guidance when you're ready to take the next step (contact us here)

Click on any of the roadmap components below to connect with full roadmap content on the Kumu platform:

This systems analysis explores the dynamics of the circular apparel and textiles system, centered around 3 key sub systems: Garment Utilization, Collection & Sorting and Regeneration (Recycling). These sub systems are enabled by knowledge of circularity from a design perspective and business models toward circularity.

We recommend starting with the high level map, to get a sense of the whole system. From there, click on the links in Garment Utilization System, Collection / Sorting System and Recycle System to begin exploring the detailed map.

How to navigate the maps:

  • Click on any variable (the circles) or the causal relationships (the arrow lines) to see detailed descriptions.
  • Some variables contain links to resources and examples; simply click on the hyperlinked text to see them. NOTE: Make sure to use command + click (for Macs) and control + click (for PCs) to stay in the presentation and open links in a new tab.
  • Use the panel in the top right corner of the map to zoom in, zoom out and fit to screen.
  • The three vertical dots on the left of the map view window allow you to view and hide the description window.


Detailed Systems Map:

Guidance Modules:

Module Framework:

The are 3 circular practices (each top level  label contains a guiding vision for that practice:

  1. Collection / Sorting
  2. Garment Utilization
  3. Regeneration / Recycling

These intersect with 3 action areas (each square contains in the 3x3 matrix contains a guiding vision for that area, and a link to that module):

  1. Business Model
  2. Design
  3. Customer Engagement

Defining your own journey through the modules:

  • Identify your starting point in the 3x3 matrix based on current activity, interest or function.
  • Open any of the 9 modules squares and click through to full module content via the text link .
  • Build capacity through adjacent practice/ action areas.
  • Continue until all areas are addressed.

The Circularity Roadmap was created by Cory Skuldt, Lauren Hill, Catherine Tedrow, and Sam Brundrett of FWD Impact/Bard MBA, in partnership with Shelly Gottschamer of Outerknown. 

We are indebted to the following stakeholder interviewees who generously gave their time and expertise to support this project:

Ann Starodaj, Optoro
Ashlee Barker, Refashion NYC
Ashley Gill, Textile Exchange
Annie Gullingsrud, Cradle to Cradle
Beth Jensen, Outdoor Industry Association
Bethany Mallett, Outerknown
Camille Gillet, Ellen MacArthur_Foundation
Dan Green, Recycle That
Greg Gausewitz, REI
Isaac Nichelson, Circular Systems & Sustainable Source Studios
Jasmien Wynants, Flanders DC
Jeff Wilson, NSF International
Karen Barrier, Evrnu
Keith Kahn, Simple Recycling
Leslie Siron, Circle Economy
Liesl Truscott, Textile Exchange
Lynn Siodmak, Outerknown
Maggie Kervick, Glasgow Caledonian
Marisa Adler, RRS
Meg Burns, Burton
Mike Gomez, Outerknown
Natalie Betts, Austin Resource Recovery
Nicole Basset, The Renewal Workshop
Nikki Hodgson, Outdoor Industry Association
Scott Cynamon, Cyntex Co
Sissie Norman, Bestseller
Svenn Herrmann, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Travis Heard, Outerknown
Zuri Magers, Outerknown