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Ask the expert: The future of fashion

Posted in Ask the expert
by Anna Brismar on 24 October, 2014

This week, Make it last's sustainability expert predicts fashion business models for the future.

Every week, Make it last’s sustainability expert Anna Brismar of Green Strategy answers questions about fashion and sustainability. Read more about what sustainable fashion really is, or at least how we define it with the help of Anna, here.

The future of fashion industry business models are predicted to include more channels than just selling new clothes, such as swapping, hiring and repairing. Would you give us a few examples of initiatives that do you believe in for the future?

– Yes, over the last two years, more and more fashion companies are opening their eyes to new customer services, such as rent, repair and second hand. This trend is the result of a growing interest in both sustainability and circular economy issues related to fashion, in Sweden as well as internationally. More and more fashion brands are adopting new such services to their business models.

REPAIR: Particularly denim brands are finding repair services to be a natural part of their businesses. For example, Nudie Jeans and Levi’s Strauss both provide free repair services. Nudie Jeans’ customers can either bring their jeans to a local Nudie Jeans store or ask for a free repair kit to be sent home, to do the actual repair themselves. Several of Nudie’s stores have even been renamed Nudie Jeans Repair Shops.

RENT: In Sweden, the urban menswear brand Uniforms for the Dedicated leases suits and outerwear to customers, while Houdini Sportswear provides shell garments (jackets, pants and sets) for rent. The Dutch denim brand Mud Jeans, however, was the first fashion company to introduce the “leasing concept”, with jeans leased on a yearly basis; after a year, customers have the choice to either continue leasing the jeans for another four months, switch them for a new pair, buy them at reduced price, or send them back (for upcycling or recycling).

SWAP: Swapping of clothes, shoes and accessories is a very good way to keep from buying newly produced fashion items. This can be done by attending a swap event, visiting a popup swap store, do a swap event with colleagues at work, or swap with friends and family.

SECOND HAND: Second hand business used to belong to the charity organizations and private vintage/second hand stores. Today, fashion companies are entering the secondhand market with sustainability in mind. More and more fashion brands are testing the concept of selling their own second hand clothes in-store or in separate stores. The Swedish company Filippa K was early to set up its own separate second hand shop, in 2008 in central Stockholm, being run in cooperation with Judits Second hand. Houdini Sportswear also sells its own second hand clothes since autumn 2014.

All of these initiatives are positive and important, not only by adding sustainability to fashion, but also by acting as good examples and inspiration to other companies.


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