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Fashion retailers join new partnership to drive sustainable business models

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today May 30, 2019
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In the UK, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), circular economy business consultants QSA Partners and a number of fashion retailers on Thursday announced a new partnership to develop and pilot a range of new circular economy business models such as clothing hire, product resale, repair and rental services.


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The retailers – including Ted Baker, Farfetch and soon-to-launch outdoor brand FW – “will be exploring more sustainable ways of operating through the Circular Fashion Fast Forward project.”

LWARB said each retailer will “explore its own bespoke approach to becoming a more circular business, developing new business models which will be trialled and ultimately, if successful, brought to market.”

Although the full details of what each one will do weren’t available, it’s an important move in committing some big names to the drive for a more sustainable approach to fashion.

LWARB said that projects like this also “create great opportunities for learning, so case studies will be created and shared once the project is complete to help other fashion retailers and brands develop and adopt their own circular business models.” 

Resale and rental will be a key part of the partnership with Thomas Berry, Director of Sustainable Business at Farfetch, saying: “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.” He said the new partnership should help the company “build the business case to accelerate our work in this area.”

Meanwhile, Anna Smoothy, FW’s Senior Marketing Manager, emphasised that sustainability is at the core of what its team wants to achieve: “FW’s approach to sustainability is an open-ended conversation. We are constantly searching to refine our materials and reduce our impact. 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.” 

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