Living in the current world of ever more arising environmental issues and concerns about the pollution levels, not only do individuals try to adopt more sustainable ways of living and ‘greener consumption habits’, but also fashion firms worldwide are attempting to more ecological solutions at their core. After all, if consumers become more environmentally conscious, firms need to follow their lead. What does that mean? Circular economy, zero waste, fair trade, are just some of the many approaches that fashion firms are trying to integrate into their business model.
What is a fashion firm’s business model?
For the fashion industry, there are 4 key factors as their milestones: value proposition, customer segmentation, communication and distribution channels. The degree of complexity is defined by the firm’s value chain. However, the whole ‘story’ unfurls around the firm’s value proposition, in other words the ‘unique solution’ the firm promises to provide to the target market. As the societal and economic factors evolve and are moulded by the environment, so do the preferences of the consumers. As a result, fashion firms build devised strategies, oriented towards these new preferences. After all, consumers are the core of any brand management strategy. This is when the change happens.
How can a business model become more sustainable in ecological terms?
To put it simple, an ecologically sustainable business model often shifts the value proposition towards one overall term: sustainability. It considers all stakeholders, addresses and further assesses environmental impacts and is transparent when it comes to reporting. It solidifies cultural and socioeconomic macro-trends against mass-production paradigms and adopts technologies and innovations in garment materials and manufacturing that go beyond scale economies and scope advantages generated by fast fashion. In this way, the firm shifts to a socio - environmental value creation. To do so, (first things first) fashion firms worldwide need to identify the large-scale trends, meaning the cultural and socioeconomic trends that emanate from the dominant fast fashion business approach so that they can offer a new ‘solution’ (value proposition) instead. However, most importantly, fashion firms need to engage in CSR practices (Corporate Social Responsibility) which means the corporate model of a brand needs to take into account the environment and engage into sustainable efforts. Patagonia is an outstanding example of a fashion firm with a strong CSR focused on ecology.
Why should fashion firms make the shift?
With climate change, greenhouse emissions and water pollution, it goes without saying why the fashion industry must re-establish its business core values. And since the industry significantly contributes to several of these environmental issues, the fashion firms worldwide should promote sustainable consumption and ethical purchasing behaviour, transforming the value proposition into value appropriation. The shift includes all steps of the business model: in terms of design, emphasis is given on ecological and ethical practices. In terms of production, quality overcomes quantity and prioritizes fair labour. Lastly in terms of consumption, firms are also responsible for educating the target audience and focus on long-term investments. So, why should the firms alter their model towards this direction? Simply because the prevailing business model of fast fashion firms did not work. The numbers speak for themselves.
Of course, there is still a huge gap between theory and practice. Many firms have made promises of shifting the business paradigm against the economic growth model and towards the reduction of consumption of resources. However, how many of them are willing to sacrifice their economic profit deriving from trend fluctuations and consolidate a macro-trend of slow production and consumption?
How does Kleiderly contribute?
Recycling, upcycling and circular economy thinking will be one of the key solutions for the industry and our planet, and this is simply what Kleiderly does. At Kleiderly, we fight the environmental impact of fast fashion by converting the fashion and textile waste into very sustainable material.
Todeschini, B. V., Cortimiglia, M. N., Callegaro-de-Menezes, D., & Ghezzi, A. (2017). Innovative and sustainable business models in the fashion industry: Entrepreneurial drivers, opportunities, and challenges. Business Horizons, 60(6), 759-770.