Fashion giants pledge to collaborate on circular business model trials

Image: Arc’teryx

The Fashion ReModel initiative is being convened by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an international charity which exists to accelerate and document the transition to a circular economy.

Participarting businesses are being tasked with trialing and testing business offerings which decouple revenue from the production of new garments. These could include resale, repair, rental, upcycling and garment maintenance or customization.

The hope is that the scheme will provide learnings on successfully scaling these business models. Participating businesses will also present findings to policymakers.

The scheme is being launched today (21 May) at The Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen. This annual event convenes decision-makers from across the industry to co-create solutions to environmental, social, ethical and governance challenges.

It is not yet clear which initiatives the participating brands will launch, or when. This article will be updated if this information is released. The initial participants are Arc’teryx, Reformation, Zalando, Primark and H&M Group, the latter of which is the parent company for brands including Arket, COS and Weekday.

Several of these brands have tested circular business models before. H&M, for example, has tested rental in-store in Sweden since 2019 and the UK since 2022. And Arc’teryx has been providing care, repair and resale since late 2021. Nonetheless, their businesses predominantly rely on selling new products.

“In order to challenge conventional linear models and create a new normal, brands must decouple revenue from production by accelerating efforts to redesign the products of the future, as well as rethinking the services and business models which deliver them to customers and keep them in use,” said the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s fashion lead Jules Lennon.

“The fashion industry is rooted in reinvention and we welcome business-led action towards a world where, instead of being worn once and discarded, clothes can be used many more times and threaded through the lives of more people.”

An oft-quoted statistic from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is that a bin lorry full of fashion is either burned, dumped or landfilled globally every second. Fashion production has scaled more rapidly than recycling and reuse systems have and this, coupled with the technical challenges of recycling blended textiles, has led to a significant waste mountain.

The Foundation believes that circular options could take around one-quarter of the fashion market share by 2030 with the right support from businesses and policymakers.

Stand.Earth has this week published an assessment of the sustainability data of 11 of the world’s largest and most influential fashion brands. None of them publicly share data on the number of products they produce and sell each year, in tonnes.

Related news: Selfridges expands fashion resale service nationwide

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