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WORTH Partnership Project
Lead in Sustainability & Circular Economy

Gwen Cunningham

Steering Board Member: Gwen Cunningham
WORTH Community
  • Steering Board Members


Gwen was born in Ireland and trained as an apparel designer in her home town of Dublin. In her role as designer, Gwen became critically aware of, and increasingly uncomfortable with, the linear nature of the apparel industry. A drive to inspire change - and to design new systems, not new products - led her to Amsterdam, the proclaimed 'circular hotspot of Europe'. Today, Gwen leads Circle Economy’s Textiles Programme, whose mission it is to achieve a zero waste industry through the practical implementation of circular solutions, together with its network of brands and solution providers. To get there, the programme focused on two key pillars; firstly, enabling the technology and infrastructure needed to valorize textile waste at end-of-life (reducing the waste mountain) and, secondly, building apparel brands' capacity to adopt circular design and circular business models (preventing the waste mountain).

Recent and ongoing projects include the development and commercialization of Fibersort (a breakthrough technology that automatically sorts post-consumer textiles by fiber composition in order to generate consistent input for textile-to-textile recycling), the launch of On Course (an educational circular training programme for apparel brands), and Switching Gear (a project that guides five apparel brands in the design and launch of a rental or ecommerce business model pilot).

In addition, Gwen is the Lead for Sustainability and Circularity at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.