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Fall in love with your clothes all over again

Malmö wants residents to have more committed relationships with their clothes

Malmö wants residents to have more committed relationships with their clothes

This, however, is not about shopping but about appreciating what we have and fostering circularity

Malmö’s municipal website informed this week that it is planning a campaign called ‘Love your clothes’. It will include personal stories and images of people and their favourite clothing items – the ones they can’t bear the thought of throwing away. The purpose is to engender a new mindset that is more conscious of our textile consumption and helps us turn our backs on throwaway culture.

Both textile production and incineration cause a strain on the environment

Did you know that every year 4.3 million tonnes of textile waste end up in landfills or incinerated in the EU? More than 140,000 tonnes of new textiles are put on the Swedish market, yet only 5 percent or less are recycles as material.

Swedish people throw more than half of the clothes they buy in the garbage, and the regrettable thing is that 60% of that waste represents perfectly clean and wearable items. So, the city of Malmö wants to do something about that.

In fact, it is already doing something substantial and we suspect it may have the ambition to turn into a global pioneer when it comes to implementing a circular approach to textiles. That Swedish city can boast of having the world’s first large-scale textile sorting facility on its territory. Called Siptex, it sorts items by colour and fibre composition using near-infrared light, which makes it possible to handle large flows and produce textile fractions that are adapted to different recycling processes.

That, however, is only one element in the transformation and it would not be enough if it didn’t tackle the cause for textile trash accumulation at its root. And as usual, that is human habits.

With the aim of inspiring the sustainable use and consumption of clothes, Malmö residents are encouraged to send in pictures and stories of the garments they would never throw away. The ‘gold nuggets’ from the residents' wardrobes will be featured in a campaign, called ‘Love your clothes’ later this autumn.

Malmö residents' stories should put their finger on what it is that makes us love and take care of certain clothes more than others. Is it quality, functionality, colour and shape, the history behind it or how the garment makes us feel when we wear it that makes us want to use it again and again?

There is a lot of individual and social psychology in play and the way we approach material culture. Back in the day, textiles took longer to produce and were thus more valued, even passed down through generations. Is it possible to revert to such thinking once again?  Malmö residents will show us the answer.

Stay tuned, as we will soon share the advice that Malmö has dispensed about the ways we can rethink our approach to clothing, as well.

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