What is a Circular Economy? And how is it different from Sustainability?
A circular economy lies on the principles of redefining growth. No longer relying on single-use plastics, toxic byproducts or fast fashion, the circular economy is founded on a transition to renewable energy sources and turning waste into value. It’s more about investing in high quality, well-crafted products that you love so much that you hold onto it and use it for years. Then at the end of its use, that product can be reused or converted into another resource. Like sustainability, a circular economy capitalizes on the principles of reduction, reuse and recycling. However, the circular economy puts more emphasis on not just redesigning the production and consumption of products to be more sustainable, but that the end-of-life products are brought back into the economic cycle.
What does it mean to be a Circular Fashion Brand?
We believe that the future of fashion is circular. With polluting manufacturing practices and increasing waste from fast fashion causing increasing damage to our earth, it’s no longer enough to just be sustainable. We should all aspire and work towards leaving a positive impact. That means redefining our production and consumption models to be focused on high quality, low-impact materials that only get better with age, like naturally tanned, high-quality leather bags.
Within the fashion industry, we have joined other spearheads like Burberry, Stella McCartney and H&M in rethinking every step of the products’ lifecycle, from materials sourcing and manufacturing processes, to design and easy recycling and reuse methods. It's taking steps like these that a circular fashion brand seeks to redefine growth in the fashion industry and reverse our role as the second-largest polluter in the world.
What makes Natural Nuance Circular?
Natural Nuance's design strategy for cyclability enables re-use, upcycling and recycling of each of our products once it has been used and loved by our customers long enough, and it's time to let go.
Our products are designed so that material types can easily be separated for recycling. For example, we design our products so that they can be constructed using generous, clear cuts. Only a few parts need to be cut upon for deconstructing, which enables us to keep the larger leather parts for reuse toward new products once the seams have been opened. This also allows us to keep the use of adhesive to the absolute minimum and we avoid using glue altogether on any larger areas, making it easier for us to separate and preserve the leather.
As for the metal parts? We've designed it so they can be reused and are easy to remove, too. In fact, we're making the separation of the materials for recycling and reuse so easy that it will be possible for most anyone with some simple sewing knowledge to take everything apart for recycling!
Emphasizing Slow Fashion
We want our customers to appreciate and love the piece of artwork and craftsmanship that rests in their hands each time they hold a Natural Nuance bag or accessory. We also believe that artisan, well-crafted fashion accessories made of the highest quality materials should be designed and constructed to weather the years of loving use by each of our customers.
Beyond our timeless, versatile design and colors meant to withstand the test of passing trends and time, we also strive to elongate the life span of each of our products (clutches, handbags, wallets). Each Natural Nuance item is optimally designed for functional durability and easy repair.
We are currently implementing a program where we take back older items and use the material for prototypes or give them back to our customers in a different form as second generation products. However, our eventual target is to further improve upon our designs so that we can establish a commercial model for the take back program.
We exclusively use certified naturally tanned leather, outside and inside and do not work with leather that has been tanned using chrome. We are currently investigating the usage of natural adhesives to avoid chemicals as well.
When we are sourcing our materials, we also look at the following criteria: Low amount of pollutants, allergy friendly, short transport routes, social standards of producers, synthetical colors (if used) have no heavy metals.
Individuality is a sign of leather quality. Therefore some leather skins will show the traces of the life of the animal. These traces are never sealed with plastic or synthetic material. Leather is a natural material and it is our aim to celebrate its authenticity. This is a design choice that prolongs the life of our products.
Each product is made by hand by our producers who are small European family enterprises with a long tradition of high end craftsmanship. Our producers have a strict quality control system, reinforced by our own quality control. We have personally visited our suppliers to make sure social and health standards are met.
We only accept the highest quality of production which in turn will lead to a longer usage of our products.