This area covers all products and product components related to clothing textiles (sportswear, leisurewear, rainwear, sleepwear, underwear, babywear, tights, stockings, socks...), including fabrics, yarns, threads... used. It only involves the business-to-consumer section.

Why support this area? 

In Belgium, the clothing textile industry is dynamic: it employs about 13,000 employees in more than 250 businesses, 95% of which being SME with an ever increasing turnover.

Yet, the textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world, which requires a high amount of resources: the average clothing consumption by a European citizen requires 9 m³ of water, 400 m² of land and 391 kg of raw materials. Today, the clothing sector is dominated by the linear model (extract-manufacture-discard) due to the prevalence of fast fashion. This trend incites clothing brands to produce several low-cost, poor quality collections per season. Besides a shortened lifespan because of their poor properties, consumers are getting tired of their outfits more and more quickly. For instance, in Belgium in 2018, an average person threw away 14.8 kg of clothing, which represents a 10% increase compared to 2013, and this figure continues to rise. Only 1% of garments are recycled in new clothing, while 87% are simply lost.

Alongside this dominant system, we can observe a counter-movement and a growing interest in alternative patterns. 
For instance, some Belgian brands are working on the pattern of circular economy by using recycled contents or by organising take-back campaigns of used clothes.

Through this call, we are looking to support the companies active in the textile and clothing sector that want to anticipate the Circular economy action plan, notably the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles with its list of action to reduce and re-use materials in textiles.

What are the expected projects? 

As part of this call, we focus on solutions favouring systemic change and we look for projects that propose eco-design solutions for: 

  • a minimal use of (primary) materials in the manufacture of a garment: less virgin materials, less residues and waste, more biosourced materials and more re-used or recycled materials, use of local materials;
  • an increased longevity: quality materials, timeless fashion, co-creation...; 
  • a multifunctional use: clothing adaptable to various occasions; 
  • a re-use (including repair, renovation and remodelling); 
  • a disassembly facilitating re-use or repair; 
  • an efficient and high-quality recycling (easily separable quality materials);
  • the traceability and sharing of information on products and materials: combining the integration of information and digital technology at the design stage to enable tracing, efficient maintenance and correct processing throughout the chain; 
  • the development of new take-back systems in order to facilitate re-use and recycling. 

We also support projects that propose business and/or consumption models promoting a longer use of the product such as design/production on demand, garment sharing, product as a service, selling of second hand textiles, collaborative methods for circular design and calculation systems displaying the actual cost of the textile product.

For more details on the projects to be developed in the frame of this theme, read the memorandum.