Fashion retailers to trial new circular economy business models

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The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and QSA partners have announced that they are working with numerous fashion retailers to develop and pilot a range of new circular economy business models.  

Clothes hire, product resale, repair and rental services are among the models being considered. 

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Retailers taking part in this include Ted Baker, Farfetch and FW, who will all be exploring sustainable ways of operating through the Circular Fashion Forward Project.  

There will be a dedicated Design for Lifecycle Theatre at The Recycling Event, with speakers including Waitrose, WRAP, TerraCycle and more. Find out more now: https://www.therecyclingevent.com/

Each retailer will look at its own bespoke approach to becoming a circular business, developing new business models which will be trialled and if successful, brought to the market.  

Case studies will also be created and shared once the project is complete to help other fashion retailers and brands develop their own circular business models. 

According to LWARB, resale is a “particularly strong growth area” for fashion businesses to consider, with a report from thredUP putting the value of the second-hand market at $24 billion (£19 billion), a figure that is expected to double in the next five years. 

Farfetch director of sustainable business Thomas Berry said: “Circular models like resale or rental are big commercial opportunities for Farfetch. They are a very natural extension of our long-standing vintage offer, and we have started to pilot a few new models. Since 2018 our Browns retail store has been in partnership with rental platform Armarium, and we have just launched Farfetch Secondlife – a handbag resale service for our customers. We are excited to be working with LWARB and QSA to build the business case to accelerate our work in this area.” 

FW senior marketing manager Anna Smoothy said: “FW’s approach to sustainability is an open-ended conversation. We are constantly searching to refine our materials and reduce our impact. At FW, quality is sustainability. We make products to last while incorporating eco-materials that are proven to be durable like Oxford Recycled Yarn. We are not just making eco-friendly products destined for landfill – we would like to underline the fact that we are developing a Repair Program with QSA and LWARB so that our fans invest in FW for life.” 

The Circular Fashion Forward Project is funded by the C&A Foundation.  

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