Toward circular economy of fashion

Kerli Kant Hvass (Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen (CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Publication date: 8 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to examine the challenges and solutions emerging when fashion brands develop and test circular economy solutions within their existing business models.


The paper is based on a 34-month case study in a global fashion brand, which launched a new in-store product take-back initiative.


The results indicate that fashion brands need to cope with multiple challenges in the process of developing circular business models in the organization, including: diverging perspectives of value and unclear success criteria, poor alignment with existing strategy, limited internal skills and competences, and limited consumer interest.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this paper are grounded in a single case study and thus limitations associated with broad generalizations apply. In addition, the paper only investigated one aspect of circularity, namely, product take-back and did not investigate design for circularity, product reuse, recycle and other circularity related issues.


The findings derive from practical experiences of a fashion brand implementing an in-store product take-back system in the existing business model. The study reveals new insights into the actual process of making circular fashion operable.



Kant Hvass, K. and Pedersen, E. (2019), "Toward circular economy of fashion", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 345-365.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.