Circularity Roadmap for Apparel Brands

Our team is creating a Textile Circularity Roadmap for Apparel Brands, including a systems/stakeholder map and guidance for brands on the circular practices of Collections/Sorting, Utilization, and Regeneration. These practices form the basis of three modules, each providing concrete recommendations for engaging with that practice. Modules are organized around the action areas of Design, Business Model, and Customer Engagement. Each module action area includes a guiding vision, first steps, next level engagement, systems dynamics, and common pitfalls.

Because the road to circularity may be different for each brand, our format allows the user to create a customized pathway. Users choose a starting point based on the brand's strengths and existing initiatives, or the user's function or interest within their organization. They can then build capacity by moving through adjacent module action areas.

While there are several existing circular design tools, our work differs in addressing the entire business model, and taking a systems dynamic approach. This approach enables brand contribution to industry level shifts, while supporting their development of competitive advantage and differentiation. We complement rather than duplicate existing resources, linking to external sources from the recommendations where the user will find them most useful.

The project was initiated by apparel brand Outerknown, but is intended to be open source and benefit the entire industry. Our systems map and draft module content is complete, and we'll deliver the final content in April. Our team and client are currently exploring potential partnerships for hosting, building upon, and more widely disseminating the work going forward.

FWD Impact members Cory Skuldt, Sam Brundrett, Lauren Hill, and Catherine Tedrow have developed the roadmap as a component of their Capstone Projects for the Bard Sustainability MBA, and intend to continue our work driving sustainable innovation in the textile/apparel industry after graduation. We've received invaluable support from Shelly Gottschamer, Supply Chain and Sustainability at Outerknown, along with a variety of industry stakeholders in other brands, brand partners, consultancies, and institutions. 

Check back here for project updates, and please feel free to contact Cory at if your organization would like to get involved!

Summer 2018 update: project details are available here: