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Industry Talk

New outdoor brand commits to make clothes last

The aim of the project is to demonstrate how the circular economy can help brands to hit their environmental and economic targets.

19th September 2019

Innovation in Textiles
 |  London

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable, Sports/​Outdoor

“The aim of our project is to demonstrate how the circular economy can help brands to hit their environmental and economic targets and succeed in today’s marketplace. We are working with several market players across the fashion sector to illustrate the competitive advantage of circular business models. And how they can help to build not just a more sustainable business but customer loyalty too,” commented Andrea Crump, project lead for Circular Fashion Fast Forward.

Forward

FW is one of a number of brands working with LWARB and QSA on the Circular Fashion Fast Forward project, funded by the C&A Foundation as a part of their Bridging the Gap initiative. FW recognises that incorporating circular economy practices is key to future-proofing their business; so the company’s new range of clothes has been designed to help put an end to throw-away consumerism, emphasizing durable, high-quality construction and materials to ensure the garments last and last.

The real innovation, however, a result of tailored business model development from LWARB and QSA, is that customers will be able to repair their clothing if needed. Through a dedicated service designed to make clothes last longer, customers will have the option of having garments repaired for free within a warranty period. Repairs will still be available to customers at a low cost beyond the warranty period.

A repair service is one of several models companies may integrate into their business to create more value and profit, whilst reducing their environmental impact. Repairing products helps to keep them in use for longer and builds loyalty with the customer. By repairing every garment it can, FW is selling clothes that could be worn for life. This is an important move away from the usual practice of simply disposing of clothes when they become damaged.

Business model alternatives

As people are waking up to the impacts of their shopping habits and increasingly demanding more sustainable options from the brands they love, a growing number of businesses are implementing alternatives to the current high-impact take, make, dispose business model.  

“The business model advice from LWARB and QSA has been essential. It has helped us to understand the circular models that best fit with our rapidly growing business and our high performance, forward-thinking apparel for alpine living. We know that we’re just starting out on our journey to take our place in the circular economy and we’re delighted to be global leaders on the expedition,” said Olivia Herbert, Head of Operations at FW.

LWARB and QSA Partners are taking FW, Ted Baker, Farfetch and one other global brand on a journey to explore circular economy business models, as part of the C&A Foundation Bridging the Gap initiative. Each brand wants to match their ambition for greater sustainability with their customers’ needs and values. At the end of the project, each will have tested the best circular business model for both their business and their customers.

www.lwarb.gov.uk

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