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Post-retail responsibility of garments – a fashion industry perspective

Kerli Kant Hvass (Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, Copenhagen Business School and Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA), Copenhagen, Denmark)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 2 September 2014




The purpose of this paper is to study the reuse and recycling of garments from the fashion industry's perspective. Through multiple case studies the paper maps the emerging organizational field of post-retail responsibility of garments, describing how and why several fashion companies have engaged with reuse and recycling practices and which opportunities and challenges they face.


The study relies on the qualitative multiple explorative case study method. The data were collected from 12 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with seven fashion companies and documentation analyses of two companies. Data were analyzed using the thematic analyses approach. The main limitation of the study is the limited selection of cases and therefore a larger data set and further studies are required to extend the understanding of the phenomenon for more generalized statements and in-depth understanding.


The findings demonstrate that post-retail responsibility of fashion is an emerging field in the fashion industry that offers several business opportunities to fashion companies, but also requires rethinking of existing value propositions and engagement of a wider stakeholder group in order to find sustainable solutions for garments’ end of life. The field is still new with limited best practice, however, two main strategies of how fashion companies address post-retail responsibility of their products can be distinguished: second hand retailing and product take-back schemes.


This paper contributes to research by advancing understanding of fashion industry's role in the end-of-life of their products and the associated opportunities and challenges. This study belongs to the first round of research that directly addresses the post-consumer textile waste from the fashion industry's perspective.



Kant Hvass, K. (2014), "Post-retail responsibility of garments – a fashion industry perspective", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 413-430.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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