Circular pioneers

A book about the fashion industry tells the sustainability story in its production

By John L. Walters

Spreads and cover from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s book Circular Design for Fashion.

From its blind-embossed cover to its use of Fedrigoni’s 100 per cent recycled FreeLife Cento Extra White paper, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s 200-page casebound book Circular Design for Fashion brings bold, sustainable print design to focus on another industry where creativity and consumption need to be realigned to meet contemporary challenges.

‘We have never produced more clothes. We have never worn them less.’ That’s the arresting statement on one of the scene-setting opening spreads. The publication examines the problem, discusses how a circular economy of reducing waste and pollution, reuse and recycling can change the way fashion operates and talks to some of the pioneers of this new way of designing and making.

Designed in Montréal, Canada by global creative agency Sid Lee and printed in Oxford, UK by Seacourt (see p. 38), the book is the complete opposite of a glossy fashion magazine while still using codes from the fashion world in its design language of cut shapes, threads and stitched lines. Circular Design for Fashion uses expressive typography and illustration to make its arguments. The book is printed in black and three neon-bright Pantone colours that jump – thanks to waterless printing – off its uncoated pages. Instead of using conventional CMYK reproduction for the photographs, they are converted to print from the same four colours. Technically, it means the job can be printed using fewer colours, but visually it gives the photographs a surreal quality, bringing them into the same colour palette as the illustrations.

Project details

Design by: Sid Lee. Design director: Marie-Elaine Benoit. 

Design and illustration: Mélanie Boucher, Marie Chénier, Benjamin Lamingo L’écuyer.

Printed by Seacourt using waterless plates and LED drying technology.

Text pages printed on FreeLife Cento Extra White 120 g/m2.

Bound and edge-printed by Diamond.

Cover laminated using Cellogreen, a sustainable and recyclable film.