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The anatomy of circular economy transition in the fashion industry

Sita Mishra (Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, India)
Sheetal Jain (Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, India as Visiting Faculty)
Gunjan Malhotra (Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, India)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 4 May 2020

Issue publication date: 26 May 2021




Unsustainable fashion consumption and wasteful practices have recently garnered attention in practice and academia; however, research in this field is limited. This study is based upon an extensive review of the literature and aims to fill this gap by providing an in-depth understanding of various drivers and actors operating in the closed-loop fashion value chain. The purpose of this study is to develop a framework of transformation from the linear economy (LE) to the circular economy (CE) for the fashion industry based on “transition theory.”


This study is conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, a bibliographic compilation on the given subject is done. In Phase 2, data about the case company is collected through trade media and semi-structured interviews with the founder and the designers.


The study found that key drivers for the closed-loop fashion value chain are collaboration with partners, innovation, waste management system, customer connect and changing utilization patterns. Based on the extensive literature review and analysis of the case study, it can be concluded that to incorporate CE principles, namely, reduce, repair, reuse and recycle into current business models, redefining existing value propositions and transforming various business model elements is essential.

Practical implications

A three-level (discrete level, aggregator level and the peripheral level) framework is developed that can help the fashion industry in transition from LE to CE. This study will help fashion houses to understand how they can work in tandem with various stakeholders to develop sustainable business models.


This paper contributes to research by advancing the understanding of how to further develop and redesign an innovative business model framework for the circular fashion value chain. A three-level framework is developed that can be used for transition from LE to CE, especially in the fashion industry. This study is one of the first research that has tried to analyze the Indian case company for CE practices in fashion.



The authors would like to express special thanks of gratitude to Ms Kriti Tula, founder of Doodlage, to share information about company and allow us to use Doodlage case study in this research paper.


Mishra, S., Jain, S. and Malhotra, G. (2021), "The anatomy of circular economy transition in the fashion industry", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 524-542.



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