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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2021

Phuc Hong Huynh

Digital innovation and circular business model innovation are two critical enablers of a circular economy. A wide variety of digital technologies such as blockchain, 3D…

Abstract

Purpose

Digital innovation and circular business model innovation are two critical enablers of a circular economy. A wide variety of digital technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, cyber-physical systems, or big data also diverges the applications of digital technologies in circular business models. Given heterogeneous attributes of circular business models and digital technologies, the selections of digital technologies and circular business models might be highly distinctive within and between sectorial contexts. This paper examines digital circular business models in the context of the fashion industry and its multiple actors. This industry as the world’s second polluting industry requires an urgent circular economy (CE) transition with less resource consumption, lower waste emissions and a more stable economy.

Design/methodology/approach

An inductive, exploratory multiple-case study method is employed to investigate the ten cases of different sized fashion companies (i.e. large, small medium-sized firm (SME) and startup firms). The comparison across cases is conducted to understand fashion firms' distinct behaviours in adopting various digital circular economy strategies.

Findings

The paper presents three archetypes of digital-based circular business models in the fashion industry: the blockchain-based supply chain model, the service-based model and the pull demand-driven model. Besides incremental innovations, the radical business model and digital innovations as presented in the pull demand-driven model may be crucial to the fashion circular economy transition. The pull demand–driven model may shift the economy from scales to scopes, change the whole process of how the fashion items are forecasted, produced, and used, and reform consumer behaviours. The paths of adopting digital fashion circular business models are also different among large, SMEs and startup fashion firms.

Practical implications

The study provides business managers with empirical insights on how circular business models (CBMs) should be chosen according to intrinsic business capacities, technological competences and CE strategies. The emerging trends of new fashion markets (e.g. rental, subscription) and consumers' sustainable awareness should be not be neglected. Moreover, besides adopting recycling and reuse strategies, large fashion incumbents consider collaborating with other technology suppliers and startup companies to incubate more radical innovations.

Social implications

Appropriate policies and regulations should be enacted to enable the digital CE transition. Market patterns and consumer acceptances are considered highly challenging to these digital fashion models. A balanced policy on both the demand and supply sides are suggested. The one-side policy may fail CBMs that entail an upside-down collaboration of both producers and consumers. Moreover, it is perhaps time to rethink how to reduce unnecessary new demand rather than repeatedly producing and recycling.

Originality/value

The pace of CE research is lagging far behind the accelerating environmental contamination by the fashion industry. The study aims to narrow the gap between theory and practice to harmonise fashion firms' orchestration and accelerate the transition of the fashion industry towards the CE. This study examines diverse types of digital technologies in different circular business models in a homogeneous context of the fashion industry with heterogeneous firm types.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 13 September 2018

Jen Ballie and Mel Woods

Fashion/textile small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are currently adding value to previously discarded textile waste by applying practical skills, knowledge and…

Abstract

Fashion/textile small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are currently adding value to previously discarded textile waste by applying practical skills, knowledge and expertise to rework and reuse this material. As a result, sustainable design strategies such as zero-waste pattern-cutting, design for disassembly and upcycling are beginning to emerge. However, the scope for redesign will always be limited and the complete lifecycle of the material used needs to be considered at the front-end of the innovation process, to optimise material lifespans and reduce consumer waste. Further work is also required to inspire and educate the next generation of designers to the creative potential of reuse, and help the industry to understand its viability, scalability and role in the future. This chapter explores how the principals of the circular economy might support business model innovation within fashion and textiles. To this end, an exploratory canvas tool for SMEs, ‘Circular by Design’, was devised to aid SMEs to embrace closed-loop systems and to identify the most appropriate sustainable design strategies for their business.

Details

Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-620-4

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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2019

Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen, Rebecca Earley and Kirsti Reitan Andersen

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how organisational complexities influence the design of circular business models, which have recently been introduced as a new…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how organisational complexities influence the design of circular business models, which have recently been introduced as a new panacea for aligning the interests of business with the needs of the environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The Service Shirt, a new garment concept, is used as an illustrative case example for demonstrating some of the organisational complexities of making circular business models operable. The shirt was developed through a series of design workshops for the fashion brand Fashion Alpha.

Findings

The analysis highlights multiple challenges emerging when a fashion product with a significantly extended lifecycle passes through different users, organisations and business models. It is concluded that it is difficult to talk about a circular business model (singular) as circular economy solutions depend on the contributions of multiple stakeholders with business models.

Practical implications

The findings illustrate how fashion companies interested in the circular economy fundamentally have to rethink conventional approaches to value, organisational boundaries and temporality.

Originality/value

Drawing on a case example from the fashion industry, the paper demonstrates the organisational complexities linked to the design of new business models based on circular economy thinking, as these require the coordination of actions between autonomous actors driven by different logics regarding value creation, value delivery and value capture.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 May 2018

Kaisa Vehmas, Anne Raudaskoski, Pirjo Heikkilä, Ali Harlin and Aino Mensonen

The purpose of this paper is to explore consumers’ views and expectations on circular clothing. This paper also clarifies how the remanufacturing process should be…

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35769

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore consumers’ views and expectations on circular clothing. This paper also clarifies how the remanufacturing process should be communicated and circular fashion marketed to consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology consisted of consumer interviews, utilising an online innovation platform (Owela) to involve consumers and workshops with project partners and with external stakeholders.

Findings

Consumers’ interest towards recycling and sustainable solutions has increased. They appreciate the idea of recycling textile waste to produce new clothes; circular products should become “the new normal”. Consumers are asking for more visible and concrete information about circular clothing and how their behaviour has affected the environmental aspects of textile production. The communication should be timed correctly by using multiple communication channels and also paying attention to the shopping experience. In addition, digital services alongside circular clothing could create additional value for consumers.

Research limitations/implications

In this study, only consumers from Finland were involved. The results might be different in different parts of Europe and especially worldwide.

Originality/value

This study focusses on circular clothing – an area that has not been studied much before. Also, consumers involved in this study were of a different age compared to most of the previous studies, where the focus has been mainly on young college students.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2019

Kerli Kant Hvass and Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen

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.

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4659

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2019

Ida Marie Sandvik and Wendy Stubbs

The purpose of this paper is to explore the drivers, inhibitors and enablers of creating a textile-to-textile recycling system in the Scandinavian fashion industry. It…

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5756

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the drivers, inhibitors and enablers of creating a textile-to-textile recycling system in the Scandinavian fashion industry. It investigates the technology, innovation and systemic changes required to enable circular supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The research study uses a qualitative, interpretivist approach, drawing on in-depth semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in the Scandinavian fashion industry.

Findings

The main inhibitors to textile-to-textile recycling systems in the Scandinavian fashion industry are: limited technology which creates a challenge for separating materials; high costs of research and development and building the supporting logistics; complexity of supply chains including the multitude of stakeholders involved in product development. The enablers are design and use of new materials, increased garment collection and collaboration. This research suggests that sorting and recycling technology can be enhanced with the use of digital technologies, as this would create transparency, traceability and automatisation.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited by a small sample size and lack of representation of all key stakeholder groups, which limits the ability to generalise these findings. However, as an exploratory study, the findings provide insights that can be further tested in other contexts.

Originality/value

Understanding of textile-to-textile recycling is emerging both theoretically and practically, however, there is still much that is not understood. This research contributes to furthering understanding of how technology, collaboration and systemic change in the fashion industry can support opportunities for textile-to-textile recycling, thereby aligning with circular economy principles.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 17 June 2021

Cristina M. Ostermann, Leandro da Silva Nascimento, Fernanda Kalil Steinbruch and Daniela Callegaro-de-Menezes

This study aims to identify the drivers for adopting the circular economy (CE) in a born-sustainable business of the fashion sector.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to identify the drivers for adopting the circular economy (CE) in a born-sustainable business of the fashion sector.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory case study was carried out with a unique and relevant case: the only Brazilian company implementing circularity practices defined through a sectoral commitment, the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment.

Findings

From an analysis of the literature, a theoretical scheme composed of internal and external drivers is proposed. In the case studied, there is a prevalence of internal drivers that led the company to implement the CE. Most of the internal drivers described by the literature were identified in this research, except for two: profitability and available technology. Regarding the external drivers, of the 12 listed, only laws and regulations were identified. Thus, the results suggest that internal drivers are more numerous and may be more prominent than external ones for CE adoption in the born-sustainable business.

Research limitations/implications

Due to its exploratory design and unique case study, the research does not allow generalizations, suggesting replication with a larger number of companies and carrying out quantitative research with born-sustainable companies and incumbent companies, for comparison. Considering that there is a difference between companies that decide for sustainable practices and companies that were already born sustainable, it can be questioned if the drivers for implementing CE for both companies are also different.

Originality/value

This study proposes a theoretical scheme that indicates the main internal and external drivers for companies' CE implementation. Developed from a literature review and applied in an empirical case, this scheme is comprehensive and can be adopted to analyze companies of different sizes and industries. Hence, this paper generates new perspectives for CE literature.

Details

Revista de Gestão, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1809-2276

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2020

Sita Mishra, Sheetal Jain and Gunjan Malhotra

Unsustainable fashion consumption and wasteful practices have recently garnered attention in practice and academia; however, research in this field is limited. This study…

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1459

Abstract

Purpose

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.”

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

Keywords

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Case study
Publication date: 2 December 2021

Kinjal Jethwani and Kumar Ramchandani

Odds & Edge, a micro venture based in Ahmedabad, India, has created a niche for itself in the affordable designer wear segment. Covid-19 induced lockdown pushed Odds &…

Abstract

Case overview

Odds & Edge, a micro venture based in Ahmedabad, India, has created a niche for itself in the affordable designer wear segment. Covid-19 induced lockdown pushed Odds & Edge to the brink of collapse. And because of the severe cash crunch partners need to take a call regarding the continuation or closure of the venture. The case is intended to be discussed in an entrepreneurship class for post-graduate level participants. The case setting is inside Odds & Edge and it was May 01, 2020, when Ms Jheel Jain - a partner & the protagonist, needed to decide the future of the venture. Participants will have a brief understanding of entrepreneurial traits and will also learn about the Ansoff Model of expansion in case of continuation and the different exit choices for an entrepreneur. As Odds & Edge operates in the fashion industry, students will be able to understand the concepts such as Ecopreneurship, Circular Economy, and Trashion. The case follows through the background of Ms Jain, the ideation stage, and the players in the Trashion Industry. It then moves on to the operation of Odds & Edge narrating the process, products, and partners of the venture. The case ends with the decision dilemma for Ms Jain i.e. should she continue? If yes then how could Odds and Edge expand & grow? Or Should Jheel surrender and exit? If yes then what are the probable exit choices for her?

Learning objectives

1. to understand the concept of Ecopreneurship, Circular Economy and Trashion; 2. to identify and discuss common entrepreneurial traits; 3. to analyze the Ansoff Matrix for exploration of various expansion/growth strategies; and 4. to understand different exit strategies available to an entrepreneur.

Complexity academic level

The case is intended to be discussed in an entrepreneurship class for post-graduate level participants.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CCS 3: Entrepreneurship.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2021

Karan Khurana and S.S. Muthu

In the last two decades, the fashion value chain traveled to developing parts of the world. To these nations, it paved a path for socio-economic development initially but…

Abstract

Purpose

In the last two decades, the fashion value chain traveled to developing parts of the world. To these nations, it paved a path for socio-economic development initially but lately, the aftermath has costed more. This article visualizes the gains and losses of fast fashion to these countries.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth systematic literature review was performed to analyze the secondary data from academic journals and reports from international organizations. The authors have compiled their empirical journeys in academia, research and industry from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) based on Schon's (1983, 1990) theory of reflective practice. Further on, the article is structured using the value chain analysis (VCA) method which visualizes the aftermath of mass-producing fashion for the developed countries.

Findings

In this research it was found that LMICs have made substantial economic progress in the past two decades, however at a high social and environmental cost. It is the right time to find a balance between economic development and harm caused to the citizens of these nations.

Originality/value

At the moment the existing academic literature talks about unsustainable practices in the fashion sector around the world. This research precisely targets the LMICs where the aftermath is supposed to be much more severe. Further, it provides solutions and urges these nations to bring a substantial change throughout the value chain for a robust future.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

Keywords

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