by Kerli Kant Hvass
Where lie new opportunities for clothing businesses to innovate for sustainable consumption? What are the barriers and potentials for developing sustainable business models experienced by the ‘Davids’ as well as the ‘Goliaths’ within the fashion industry? Can a resell of a fashion brand’s own product facilitate business model adaption towards sustainability?
These are some of the questions that the special issue on “New Business Models for Sustainable Fashion” addresses (The Journal of Corporate Citizenship Issue 57).
The global fashion business is a vast industry measured by production and consumption. Total annual global consumption of garments amounts to US$1.4 trillion or an estimated 91 billion garments sold. Sustainable fashion and sustainability in the fashion industry are terms that are increasingly common. However, the current industry increasingly operates business models based on complex supply chains, extensive use of resources, products’ short life-cycles and high volumes of fashion consumption, which leaves behind several social and environmental impacts. In response to these sustainability challenges, a number of companies have introduced a variety of social and environmental initiatives, such as making their supplier lists public, improving company disclosure of societal and environmental impacts, introducing product take-back systems, experimenting with sustainable fibers and processing, and so on.
This special issue, which is guest-edited by Esben Rahbek Pedersen from Copenhagen Business School and Miguel Angel Gardetti from Sustainable Textile Center, zooms in on new business models as one component in promoting a more sustainable fashion industry. The issue contains six research articles that deal with the essential and innovative aspects of new business models within fashion.
One of the articles, ‘Business Model Innovation trough Second Hand Retailing: A Fashion Industry Case’, is written by our blog member Kerli Kant Hvass. The paper investigates how the resell of a fashion brand’s own product can facilitate business model adaption towards sustainability. Based on a single revelatory case study the article highlights a premium fashion brand’s endeavors in prolonging their products’ life through resell activities and the main issues, challenges and opportunities the brand can encounter in integrating this strategy into its existing business model.