Exeter’s circular economy experts collaborate with John Lewis on new collection

Photo: Christine Matthews, Creative Commons

Academic experts from the University of Exeter have collaborated with the retailer John Lewis on a new ‘circular collection’ of products designed to be longer lasting and more durable.

The Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy and UKRI Circular Economy Hub at the University of Exeter Business School worked with John Lewis to develop a comprehensive framework and strategy for circular designed products, created in line with WRAP’s circular design toolkits

The new framework will support the John Lewis Partnership to meet its commitment that 100% of its new own-brand products will be designed with circularity in mind by 2028.

Products in the 20-piece collection – which includes items across nightwear, babywear, cashmere jumpers, mattresses, duvets and pillows – contain more recycled content and are better quality, making them designed for longevity.

The design also factors in how items of clothing can be more easily recycled when finished with.

Professor Fiona Charnley, Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy and UKRI Circular Economy Hub at the University of Exeter Business School said: “We are pleased to have worked with John Lewis on the development of the Circular Design Framework and Strategy. The framework integrates multiple factors of circularity including material selection, extended product use, durability and cyclability, enabling the design team to adopt a truly whole system approach. 

“The launch of John Lewis’ new collection is a fantastic example of how the framework can be applied across a diverse range of products with differing requirements and lifetimes. This is a pioneering step forward in John Lewis’ transition towards a Circular Economy and we look forward to seeing the wider impact of the strategy across the business and their customers.”

John Lewis Commercial Director, Kathleen Mitchell, said: “We are constantly looking at changes we can make in our bid to combine style and sustainability for our customers. We know they want products that look good and that last, and that’s exactly what these designs offer. 

“We’re continuing to learn about how to design more efficiently and to create products that our customers can trust to be good for both their pockets and the planet. It’s been incredibly insightful seeing the circular framework and strategy put to practice.” 

Find out more about the circular collection here.