3. Circular and Sharing Business Models


To thrive in the target state, brands and retailers need to shift to circular and sharing business models (CSBMs), which will allow them to profit from reuse and service provision rather than consumption. Circular business models are fundamental to ensuring that all products created are kept in use and circulated for as long as possible. Currently, models beyond resale are not widespread, but recent initiatives and pilots by leading brands suggest an opportunity to build momentum for change across the sector.

By focusing on increasing garment utilisation alongside offering services, such as styling, maintenance, repair, redesign and rental, fashion businesses can move to circular models that reduce environmental impact and potentially offer more profitable and stable revenue models. To encourage companies to transition to CSBMs and build confidence in their commercial viability, government support through incentives such as grants and tax breaks will be key. By creating the right business conditions, the government can ensure that circular businesses thrive and that private investment flows into the sector, which will further fuel the transition towards CSBMs.



“There is momentum now on resale and making sure items retain their value is one of the best ways to ensure products are kept alive for longer.”

  • Manufacturing and distributing clothing on demand: Brands to work with manufacturers, logistics providers and digital innovators to develop and adopt technology that facilitates on-demand manufacturing and distribution. This means that only the exact quantity of goods needed is produced. Technologies that can be adopted to facilitate this include predictive analytics, which could be used to predict trends and consumer demand. Brands and logistics providers could also trial inventory models that enable shipping of small batches of new products and designs before quickly ramping up production if they prove popular.

  • Expanding brand repair and care services: Brands to seek partnerships throughout the product lifecycle that help accelerate a transition to a circular or sharing business model. One such partnership could be with reverse logistics and repair providers to offer discounted repair services for own brand products at cost price. This would also ensure that repair data is fed back into design decisions to enable continuous product improvement.
    Working to provide such affordable and easy-to- access repair services will offer greater convenience to the consumer. Combined with the promise of repair in case of breakage, and the improved durability that would ultimately emerge from such schemes, this could incentivise consumers to shop with such companies.
  • Expanding rental and subscription: Brands to develop widescale, convenient and cost-effective options for short-term clothing provision for consumers that seek or require a higher turnover of fashion and/or for cases where the user only requires an item for one or just a few occasions. Consumers are already using rental/hire services and if their desire for engaging with the latest trends and designs can be met through rental, then the flow of lower quality new items (with associated challenges reported for resale and repair) can be reduced. Such rental and subscription models should be developed to ensure low-carbon logistics, packaging, and dry cleaning
  • Expanding product take-back and service provision: Brands and retailers to adopt and scale circular economy innovations, such as take-back schemes that integrate sortation, recommerce, repair, and redesign. This has the potential to increase revenues whilst minimising the requirement for new products and materials. Such schemes could involve the provision of services aimed at the current user, such as appropriate garment care, repair and revitalisation, and styling and use options. Rather than reselling all collected clothing via charity outlets, items can undergo screening, repair, and resale via the appropriate outlets or can be collated for supply to reprocessors when they have reached their genuine end of life. Logistics providers can also play a key role in providing the enhanced reverse logistics needed to enable a take-back model, including transport and storage space for collected items
  • Boosting recommerce: Brands and retailers to actively engage in the development, marketing, and mainstreaming of recommerce for their products through existing channels and platforms and/or trial and launch their own resale platforms. A significant barrier to consumers purchasing more used clothing is lack of availability of venues or sites that sell used clothing. The provision of clear advice on the potential resale value of items could also be a promising intervention for encouraging consumers to resell clothing themselves.




“There is an enormous opportunity in the UK to create beautiful products that are regenerative and recyclable for the market [...]. From a consumer- centric point of view, it is to ramp up the use of regenerated and reprocessed inputs in the product. From a commercial point of view, the secondary markets are thriving and ready to be tapped into. The repair of products and prolonging their life when they have been crafted with care and attention is a massive opportunity. Companies need to accelerate experimentation in this space.”