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Different shades of blue denim jeans, many of which are left pieces over from sewing repairs.

Fashion retailers leading sustainability trend by trialling new business models

30 May 2019

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and QSA Partners have today announced that they are working with a number of fashion retailers to develop and pilot a range of new circular economy business models such as clothes hire, product resale, repair and rental services. The retailers – including Ted Baker, Farfetch and FW – will be exploring more sustainable ways of operating through the Circular Fashion Fast Forward project.

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. 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.

More and more businesses are realising the competitive advantage that circular business models can bring.  Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable options from the brands they love, and circular approaches offer companies a real opportunity to create more value and profit whilst reducing their environmental impact.

Resale is a particularly strong growth area for fashion businesses to consider: a recent report by thredUP[1] puts the value of the second-hand market at $24 billion, a figure which is expected to double in the next five years. The Business of Fashion report, “The State of Fashion, 2019[2] highlights that resale is growing nine times faster than traditional retail and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that an industry-wide move towards circular fashion could add €160 billion in value by 2030.

Brands connected to the project are motivated by the chance to prove the benefits of circular business models. Thomas Berry, Director of Sustainable Business at Farfetch, says: “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. We are excited to be working with LWARB and QSA to build the business case to accelerate our work in this area.”

Customers are also the main motivation for Kate Wakeling, Ted’s Conscience Manager at Ted Baker, who says: “Ted Baker are excited to be exploring opportunities within the circular economy and are pleased to have teamed up with QSA Partners and LWARB. Ted’s wholly unique way of looking at things means we look forward to delivering something very special and meaningful for our customers.”

FW is an exciting new outdoor brand launching in Autumn 2019. Anna Smoothy, FW’s Senior Marketing Manager, emphasises that sustainability is at the core of what they want to achieve: “FW’s approach to sustainability is an open-ended conversation. We are constantly searching to refine our materials and reduce our impact. At FW, 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.”

Megan McGill, Programme Manager for the C&A Foundation, is pleased to see these important projects underway: “The fashion industry needs to rapidly adopt new business models that increase the use of clothing and stop the use of unsustainable materials. This is a critical step towards a circular fashion sector. The Circular Fashion Fast Forward project and the participating brands will demonstrate what can already be done today and inspire more industry players to follow.”


Editors’ notes:


The London Waste and Recycling Board works in conjunction with the Mayor of London and London Councils and has a remit to improve waste and resource management in the capital. The city’s economic and environmental future depends on a transition to a low-carbon circular economy, and LWARB works to ensure that London’s businesses, local government and communities thrive by helping them make the very best use of resources and materials.

Circular Fashion Fast Forward project

The Circular Fashion Fast Forward project, run by LWARB in partnership with QSA, is part of the Bridging the Gap group, funded by C&A Foundation, to inspire and activate fashion industry players to accelerate the adoption and implementation of circular business models with net positive outcomes. More information available here.


QSA Partners are a team of leading circular economy business consultants who use strong commercial, financial and sustainability expertise, alongside practical and experienced project management to develop and implement successful circular business models. We work hands-on with businesses to help them take innovative business propositions to commercial reality and have more than 50 years combined experience in low carbon economics, resource efficient business, innovation and financial modelling.

For more information, please visit

C & A Foundation

C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation here to transform the fashion industry. They work with change-makers all over the world, offering financial support, expertise and networks to make the industry work better for every person it touches.  C&A Foundation is driven by the belief that despite the vast and complex challenges, collaborative action can make fashion a force for good.

For more information, please visit

Bridging the Gap

Bringing together four unique initiatives, Bridging the Gap strives to advance implementation of circular business models that make fashion with safe, non-virgin and renewable materials that are endlessly used and reused. The group consists of Circle Economy, London Waste and Recycling Board in partnership with QSA Partners, Forum for the Future in collaboration with Fashion for Good, and World Resources Institute in partnership with WRAP. Each of these initiatives target different actors across all levels of the apparel value chain to share knowledge, craft guidelines and initiate organisational pilots. To deepen the impact of their work, Bridging the Gap was established by C&A Foundation as a formal learning group, in which the organisations work through common challenges together and share best practice.


Farfetch Limited is the leading global technology platform for the luxury fashion industry.  Founded in 2007 by José Neves for the love of fashion, and launched in 2008, Farfetch began as an e-commerce marketplace for luxury boutiques around the world.  Today the Marketplace connects customers in over 190 countries with items from more than 50 countries and over 1,000 of the world’s best brands, boutiques and department stores, delivering a truly unique shopping experience and access to the most extensive selection of luxury on a single platform.  Through its business units, which also include Store of The Future, Farfetch Black & White Solutions, Browns, and Stadium Goods, Farfetch continues to invest in innovation and develop key technologies, business solutions, and services for the luxury fashion industry.

For more information, please visit

Ted Baker

Ted Baker is a global lifestyle brand offering menswear, womenswear, accessories and everything in between. It has an international presence, with more than 400 stores worldwide. Ted Baker is focused on meeting their social, environmental and ethical commitments and has implemented a sustainability strategy, ‘Fashioning a Better Future’, to help them achieve this.

For further information please contact:
Press Office: (44) 207 255 4800    Email:

FW: Gear for alpine living.

We were born in the Swiss Alps, with roots spanning from the Rockies, to the peaks of Tirol and The French Alps. Drawing inspiration from the mountain’s natural forms that hold both simplicity, and intricate detail. We understand the demands of apparel better than anyone and incorporate the functional details needed with a minimalist touch. Our perspective and approach to product design is channelled by this environment and how we want to experience life within it. We aim to keep FW supporters inspired and equipped to continue seeking new experiences in nature’s playground.

FW is launching this September, inquiries welcome:

Phone: (41) 787363421


[1] thredUP 2019 Resale Report –

[2] The State of Fashion 2019 -

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