Toward circular Economy of Fashion: Experiences from a Brand’s Product Take-back Initiative

Kerli Kant Hvass*, Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the challenges and solutions emerging when fashion brands develop and test circular economy solutions within their existing business models. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on a 34-month case study in a global fashion brand, which launched a new in-store product take-back initiative. Findings: The results indicate that fashion brands need to cope with multiple challenges in the process of developing circular business models in the organization, including: diverging perspectives of value and unclear success criteria, poor alignment with existing strategy, limited internal skills and competences, and limited consumer interest. Research limitations/implications: The results of this paper are grounded in a single case study and thus limitations associated with broad generalizations apply. In addition, the paper only investigated one aspect of circularity, namely, product take-back and did not investigate design for circularity, product reuse, recycle and other circularity related issues. Originality/value: The findings derive from practical experiences of a fashion brand implementing an in-store product take-back system in the existing business model. The study reveals new insights into the actual process of making circular fashion operable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)345-365
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Business models
  • Case study
  • Circular economy
  • Fashion
  • Product take-back
  • Textile reuse and recycling

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