Ganni makes its first appearance on the Circular Fashion Index, but circularity efforts stagnate year-on-year.
Patagonia, Levi’s, and The North Face have once again demonstrated their commitment to circular fashion, securing the top spots in Kearney’s Circular Fashion Index (CFX), a leading industry ranking, for the second consecutive year.
Danish luxury label Ganni made its first appearance on the list following notable circularity and sustainability efforts in recent years. Coach, Burberry, Moncler, and Louis Vuitton also made appearances across categories.
CFX provides an extensive evaluation of fashion brands’ dedication to prolonging the lifespan of their apparel. This year, the index looked at 200 brands worldwide, an increase from 150 the previous year. Brands were classified across six divisions: luxury; premium and affordable luxury; mass market; fast fashion; sports and outdoor; and underwear and lingerie.
The CFX assesses a company’s circularity efforts in seven key criteria pertaining to garment longevity in both primary and secondary markets. Key factors in the primary market include the proportion of recycled materials utilized in product creation and the brand’s circularity advocacy. Secondary market factors include secondhand sales, rental services, and returned clothes’ reuse. Each criterion received a score from one to ten, forming a combined overall score for each brand.
While the number of brands recognized for their efforts increased, the 2023 analysis revealed stagnant advancement for the sector as a whole, with the average score across all brands remaining at just 2.97 out of 10 — that number is unchanged from the previous year. However, Kearney did note a minor improvement in brands surveyed in both years. Notably, the inaugural 2020 CFX reported an average score of a meager 1.6 out of 10.
According to Kearney Italia’s principal, Dario Minutella, only 19 brands achieved a score of 5 out of 10 in 2023, with only the top three surpassing this, scoring 7 out of 10. The number of brands fully embracing all of the seven sustainability strategies remains in the low single-digit percentages.
“While we see some shining stars, we see the industry as a whole needing a step change improvement,” Kearney U.S. partner Brian Ehrig said in a statement.
Minutella says the findings suggest consumers lack awareness regarding the potential benefits of circular fashion when purchasing and disposing of products. He stressed the need for proactive steps to close the loop and truly circularize the industry.
The study emphasizes the greater utilization of primary market strategies compared to secondary market ones, highlighting the need for more consumer education about circularity as a means to reduce consumption. It also encourages brands to support these secondary market initiatives, particularly concerning repair, maintenance, reuse of returned items, and pre-owned assortments.
Patagonia, Levi’s, and The North Face led the rankings with scores of 8.65, 8.30, and 7.90 respectively. The top two brands improved from the previous year, while The North Face saw a minor decline from 8.05 in 2022.
Patagonia boosted its score for its circularity efforts, employing a 10-point scale system to categorize product repairability, durability, and functionality. Levi’s introduced a recycled denim section on its website and began revealing its suppliers’ map and associated carbon footprint.
The top ten global rankings included OVS and Gucci in the fourth and fifth spots overall. Gucci was the top luxury label, followed by Coach, Burberry, Moncler and Louis Vuitton. The top ten global rankings also included Madewell, Coach, Esprit, Lululemon Athletica, and Lindex. Several brands, including Athleta, Timberland, and Jimmy Choo, demonstrated substantial year-over-year improvements.
Related on Ethos: