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From Singular to Plural

2019
How possible is it for existing fashion businesses to become circular?

Two images of a women wearing  a printed shirt

The aim of this article was to discuss how organisational complexities influence the design of circular business models. The Service Shirt (Earley 2018) is used as an illustrative case example for demonstrating some of the organisational complexities of making circular business models operable. The shirt was developed through a series of design workshops for a fashion brand. The analysis highlights multiple challenges emerging when a fashion product with a significantly extended lifecycle passes through different users, organisations, and business models. It concludes that it is difficult to talk about a circular business model (singular) as circular economy solutions depend on the contributions of multiple stakeholders with business models. The findings illustrate how fashion companies interested in the circular economy fundamentally have to rethink conventional approaches to value, organisational boundaries, and temporality. Drawing on a case example from the fashion industry, the paper demonstrates the organisational complexities linked to the design of new business models based on circular economy thinking, as these require the coordination of actions between autonomous actors driven by different logics regarding value creation, value delivery, and value capture.

You can read the full journal article here.