The Circular Fashion Ecosystem Project

The British Fashion Council's Institute of Positive Fashion announce the Advisory Board for its first project, the Circular Fashion Ecosystem (previously known as ‘The Waste Eco System Project'). The Board is made up of nine industry experts: Alan Wheeler, Director, Textile Recycling Association; Claire Bergkamp, Chief Operating Officer, Textile Exchange; Cyndi Rhoades, Founder, Worn Again Technologies; Dax Lovegrove, Director of Sustainability, Jimmy Choo, Franz von Bismarck-Osten, Senior Director of Sector Development for the eRetail & Fashion Industry, DHL; Jalaj Hora, Vice President of Product Innovation and Consumer Creation, Nike; Judith Rosser-Davies, Head of Government Relations and Education, BFC; Shailja Dubé, IPF Programme Lead and Circular Fashion EcoSystem Project Lead, BFC and Sonia Thimmiah, Head of Sustainable Brands and Customer Partnership, Reckitt Benckiser.

The organisation also welcomes sustainability consultancy 3Keel who will work alongside Founding Partner Vanish, part of Reckitt Benckiser, and DHL to support the initial stages of the Circular Fashion Ecosystem.

Launched in October 2020, the Circular Fashion Ecosystem (CFE) programme is the inaugural project of the IPF. Its aim is to focus on the creation of a circular fashion economy in the UK. The programme will work with industry, academia and government to inform and implement change.  

Collaboration across the industry is needed now more than ever. The CFE programme will help determine what a new ecosystem looks like, the responsibilities of each stakeholder, and what are the practical next steps needed to arrive at the key programme objectives: 

  • To accelerate industry-wide ability for textile recycling in the UK  
  • To make the UK a major fashion “revalue” centre within the global industry
  • To influence consumer behaviour into adopting responsible consumption habits

This is a multi-year, multi stakeholder endeavour which will establish a roadmap for change to enable a circular UK fashion economy. 

As part of London Fashion Week February 2021 Presented by Clearpay, the BFC is hosting a panel discussion on Tuesday 23rd February at 4.30pm GMT in line with the start of the research phase in order to raise awareness of the programme. Hosted by Caroline Rush, BFC Chief Executive, the CFE Advisory Board will discuss the project to enable a call to action to welcome collaborators, including NGOs, brands, big business, government agencies and innovators. 

The Circular Fashion Ecosystem Advisory Board Members

Alan Wheeler

Alan Wheeler is the Director of the Textile Recycling Association, the UK trade association for collectors and processors of used clothing and textiles.   He also holds the official position within the Bureau of International Recycling as the textiles division’s General Delegate.  As a spokesperson for the industry, he is regularly interviewed by the broadcast and print media in the UK and other parts of the world.   Through his role, he sat on the advisory group of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan and the European Clothing Action Plan.   Going forward Alan will also be taking an active role in the new voluntary Textiles 2030 initiative which is set to be launched in Spring 2021.   He is also an experienced presenter and panelist and has chaired numerous sustainable textile events and meetings throughout the world, including the first ever international textile recycling conference which took place in Miami in 2014. He is also an experienced lobbyist and been called to give evidence to a number of parliamentary committees, facilitate meetings within parliament and give presentations to cross party parliamentary groups.

Claire Bergkamp

Claire Bergkamp is the Chief Operating Officer at Textile Exchange. Previous to joining Textile Exchange she held the position of Worldwide Sustainability and Innovation Director for over eight years at Stella McCartney, leading the global environmental, human rights and innovation strategy for the brand. During her time at the brand, she built a qualified, high-functioning sustainability department and team, a purposeful strategy and ambitious project portfolio. Claire is a purpose driven leader and a systems thinker who delivers measurable results. She is passionate about identifying and accelerating solutions and believes that textile supply chains and raw materials systems must be radically transformed at scale. Claire serves in advisory and leadership positions for a wide range of collaborative initiatives. Notably, she is currently serving on the steering committee for the UNFCCC’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, where she is the co-chair for the Raw Materials Working Group. She also serves on the steering committee for the British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion, is a senior advisor to the Stella McCartney board and CEO and is a trustee and board director for the Stella McCartney Foundation.

Cyndi Rhoades

Cyndi founded Worn Again Technologies, originally called Worn Again, in 2005 with a determination to make a difference and create a business out of solving the challenge of textiles becoming waste and ending up in landfill or incineration. Cyndi began her career as a film maker in music videos and documentaries which over time evolved into a deep interest in the impacts of commerce and global economics on society and the environment. These interests led to the formation of Worn Again which she has been driving forward ever since, from its early beginnings in upcycling to its current transformational polymer recycling technology. Paving the way in this uncharted territory, Cyndi continues to push boundaries as a recognised thought (and ‘do’) leader and an advocate for polymer recycling technology as a solution to replace the use of virgin resources. Cyndi is a regular speaker on textiles in circularity at industry conferences and events including the Economist Sustainability Summit and Stylus Decoded Future conferences. She is an early pioneer of the sustainable fashion movement, a co-founder of the RE:Fashion Awards, the world’s first Sustainable Fashion Awards in London, and more recently a Co-Founder of World Circular Textiles Day.

Dax Lovegrove

Dax Lovegrove has worked in corporate sustainability at board level for nearly 20 years across NGO and business sectors advising different kinds of companies on their sustainability and innovation strategies.  He is continually active in the areas of businesses playing their part in the UN SDGs, labour protections in the supply chain, decent work, restoring natural capital, sustainable/regenerative design, net zero carbon practices and the circular economy.  Dax is on the steering committee for the Institute of Positive Fashion and is a Trustee at Earthwatch.  He was the Global VP of Sustainability at Swarovski, the Director of Sustainability & Innovation at Kingfisher Plc, and the Head of Business and Industry at WWF-UK.  Dax has a Masters in Sustainable Development, is part of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership Alumni and was trained in leadership at the Ashridge Business School. Dax is currently Director of Sustainability at Jimmy Choo.

Franz von Bismarck-Osten

As Senior Director of Sector Development for the eRetail & Fashion Industry for DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, Franz von Bismarck-Osten is responsible for one of DHL’s global cross-divisional focus sectors – eRetail & Fashion. His role involves setting the global sector strategy, support of product development and execution of selected strategic initiatives. That includes driving the success of the global sector in close collaboration with DHL’s top account teams through strategy sessions, customer events and innovation workshops. DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation (CSI) manages a single customer interface to the Groups top customers and provides integrated solutions that span across all DHL Business Units.  Franz von Bismarck-Osten joined DPDHL in 2013 and progressed through several positions including sales development and solution design and was joining DHL CSI in 2018.  He holds a Bachelor degree in Economics and a Master degree in Strategic Management and is living in Bonn, Germany.


Jalaj Hora

Jalaj Hora is the Vice President of Product Innovation and Consumer Creation at Nike. A materials expert, functional design enthusiast and a futurist, he has dedicated his career to unifying technology, design and social consciousness to create physical and digital product platforms.   Prior to this, Hora was the Senior Vice President of Materials, Technical Design, Quality and Innovation at Burberry. There, he led pioneering work on future materials and implemented digital prototyping and sustainable manufacturing across the supply chain to define the next stage of evolution for the luxury brand. Having worked in Europe, America and Asia in consulting, manufacturing and retail, he draws on his diverse global experience and passion for diversity to drive positive change across the industry. Prior to Burberry, Hora worked at Target as the Director of Product Development and Design. Hora has a degree in Engineering from the National Institute of Technology (India) and Global Marketing from Philadelphia University (USA). He is a systems thinker and a keen proponent of the use of technology to augment the planet’s potential.

Judith Rosser-Davies

Judith is Head of Government Relations and Education at the British Fashion Council, leading the BFC's Political Engagement Programme across government departments on areas including clean growth, talent movement, education, trade and funding. As Chair of the BFC Colleges Council, Judith leads the strategy and delivery of the BFC's education initiatives. Judith's work in the fashion industry began at the London Development Agency, the economic development arm of the Mayor of London, in the Innovation and Creative Industries teams.

Shailja Dubé 

Shailja is Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) lead at the British Fashion Council, responsible for the strategy and delivery of the BFC's commitment to help the UK fashion industry transition to a just economy with transformative impact on social and environmental issues. With 20 years' professional experience, prior to joining the BFC Shailja was Responsible Retail lead at Accenture where she focused on the intersection of sustainability and business in the fashion and wider retail sectors. She has held business strategy, transformation management, innovation, market growth, and social policy roles. It was during her time at Accenture that Shailja supported the BFC to evolve the IPF strategy to its launch. As Lead of the Circular Fashion Ecosystem project, Shailja believes that the BFC and IPF is playing a key role in facilitating connections that forge the cross-sector partnerships required to move the UK fashion industry to becoming circular and on the path to sectoral de-carbonisation.  Shailja is passionate about creating viable systems-level change to enable an equitable and responsible fashion economy.  Shailja holds a BEng in Mechanical and Environmental Engineering, MSc in Product Innovation, and is an alumni of the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership.

Sonia Thimmiah

Sonia Thimmiah has worked in sustainability for over 20 years.  She is currently the Head of Sustainable Brands and Customer Partnerships at RB, the global healthcare and consumer goods company, whose portfolio includes iconic brands such as Vanish, Finish, Dettol, Durex, Nurofen and Harpic. Her work with brands focuses on understanding the significance of sustainability issues across the value chain, and delivering positive social and environmental outcomes and purpose led growth for business. Her deep interest in the fashion sector comes from working with Vanish which is on a mission to give clothes many lives. Vanish has become BFC's official Garment care partner. Bringing together BFC’s fashion industry power with Vanish’s consumer insights and access means we can do more – conducting joint research and using key fashion calendar moments to inspire people to adopt more sustainable fashion behaviours. Recognising the complexity and scale of the social and environmental agenda, Sonia has been instrumental in shaping collaborative partnerships with different organisations including governments, NGOs, suppliers and others to drive change.  Prior to RB Sonia has worked with Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Det Norske Veritas to deliver sustainability consulting to a diverse set of industries including FMCG, mining, chemicals, oil and gas, telecommunications, leisure & hospitality, construction and the public sector.  Sonia has a BEng in Chemical Engineering and an MSc in Environmental Technology. 

The Circular Fashion Ecosystem consortium will be led by Oxford-based certified B-Corp 3Keel LLP, an award-winning firm of sustainability advisors with particular focus on product supply chains. Comprising six core practice areas, 3Keel’s mission is to work with others to create a better future for people and the environment, through ideas, evidence, and by bringing people together. They have considerable experience of delivering lasting change through working with businesses, policy makers, and non-profit organisations. To maximise impact, 3Keel purposefully pursues collaborative projects such as the recently launched BRC Climate Roadmap, their Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs) programme and the ground-breaking Podback scheme.

The consortium will comprise four other partners, collectively combining expertise in circular business models and strategy, consumer trends, and behaviour change in the fashion and textiles sector.

  • QSA Partners: a specialist team of circular economy and sustainable business experts with more than 30 years’ experience working with the fashion sector on resource efficiency including significant experience in circular textiles.
  • Flourish CSR: a team of industry-leading corporate social responsibility specialists with deep fashion sector knowledge and the network to match.
  • Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow: one of the world’s top 100 universities and home to leading researchers in the fields of consumer research, marketing and sustainable clothing consumption.
  • Icaro: a leading consumer insights agency with expertise in market research and behaviour change who apply the latest insights from behavioural economics to help their clients understand their audience and design change strategies and interventions.

The consortium will be led by Dr Alex Hetherington, who heads up 3Keel's Circular Economy Practice and has extensive expertise in partner engagement, stakeholder management, circular economy and LCA in addition to practical end-of-life solutions and circularity for difficult to recycle materials.