Mainstreaming circular consumption with the sharing economy

Session 2
Sep 12 '18 3:50pm–Sep 12 '18, 5:05pm GMT

Discussing how technology, the sharing economy and collaborative consumption can be better leveraged to close the circular consumption loop.


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Imran Asghar
Sep 12 '18, 5:04pm · Report
thanks to all its a good start for knowledge sharing
William McDonough
Special Guest
McDonough Innovation
Sep 12 '18, 5:00pm · Report
Let's not only think of the quantification issues of circularity and reuse and recycling. The qualification issues need to be front and center as well. This might lead to the consideration that sharing goodness...could be part of a larger purification ritual where we begin to truly "upcycle" the quality of materials rather than simply reuse, per se, is making things better when it may just be repeating something that might best have not been made in the first place.
Perrine Bouhana
Sep 12 '18, 5:01pm · Report
Thanks for your wise thoughts Bill - nice conclusion to this session!
Perrine Bouhana
Sep 12 '18, 5:00pm · Report
Thank you all for your time and insights today - have a good afternoon!
Raphael Bemporad
Special Guest
Sep 12 '18, 4:59pm · Report
Just wanted to share a note of gratitude to Bill McDonough who has inspired this entire movement and the flourishing that is now coming to fruition.

I am deeply inspired by his north star vision to "design for the children of all species for all time.”
Leslie Johnston
Special Guest
C&A Foundation
Sep 12 '18, 4:59pm · Report
Hear! Hear! Bill is our inspiration and muse.
Leslie Johnston
Special Guest
C&A Foundation
Sep 12 '18, 4:59pm · Report
As we get ready to close this session, I would like to thank everyone for your insights and commitment to making fashion a force for good.
Perrine Bouhana
Sep 12 '18, 4:59pm · Report
Thank you everyone for an excellent discussion! Brilliant ideas and examples. We are now wrapping up our forums for today.

We will be analysing everyone’s contributions and summarize learnings in a report which we will send out in a few weeks’ time.

A feedback survey will shorlt pop up for you to fill in before you leave – please do complete this.

Thank you for joining us!
Rachel Kibbe
Special Guest
Sep 12 '18, 4:58pm · Report
Thank you for having us. I think just having this conversation is a great start! I hope we can continue to work together, and share our resources and knowledge with each other!
Kelly Drennan
Special Guest
Fashion Takes Action
Sep 12 '18, 4:57pm · Report
Thank you for hosting!
Perrine Bouhana
Sep 12 '18, 4:58pm · Report
You're welcome Kelly - it was good to have you with us today. Great insights shared!

Summary of Discussion

Q5. How can an actor like C&A Foundation, and its strategic partner Fashion for Good, drive more positive change?

  • Test certain products on a rental/sharing basis – little risk involved in trial
  • Create a Global Reverse Supply Chain Industry Association – central place that pools resources, ideas, best practices
  • Create new business models and narratives that shape cultural identity
  • More brand partnerships and collaborations
  • Raise the education and awareness amongst consumers 
  • Make goods worth sharing
  • Conduct ethnographic research to gain insights into cultural barriers/benefits to circularity
  • Involve emerging markets

How can fashion brands / retailers drive more positive change?

  • Customise the approach to engage brands/retailers
  • Brands should engage consumers on a regular basis and consistently
  • Join Fashion for Good
  • Be more trustworthy as a brand/retailer

Q4. Which actors do we need to involve more effectively in order to make circular consumption mainstream in the fashion industry? 

  • Actors in fast growing markets (e.g. India)
  • Shopping centres as the providers of fashion
  • Icons used to drive consumer behaviour
  • Different stakeholders – see a Global Reverse Supply Chain Association with different stakeholders involved
  • Small NGOs who make an impact
  • Business leaders to push a new business model
  • Cross-functional teams that bring different perspectives – finance, marketing, product design, marketing, CSR etc.
  • Organisations dedicated to educating the public (C&A Foundation)
  • Influencers - make sustainability sexy!
  • Logistic/transport providers who have the potential to have great impact
  • Employees acting as ambassadors
  • Producers and manufacturers, those who produce the goods

Q3. How do we help consumers value access over ownership, on a wider scale?

  • Education
  • Awareness campaigns
  • Appeal to the Aspirationals - demonstrate the positives of the experience while simultaneously communicating the benefits for the planet
  • Make it convenient and cost-effective 
  • Disincentives for consumption so consumers hold responsibility 
  • Access - there needs to be more platforms out there that offer this service
  • Create a new narrative that embodies 'Abundance Without Waste' (BBMG)
  • Utilise time as a commodity - easy access vs. tme consumption 
  • Target influencers who do not conform to circular lifestyles
  • Simplify the benefits so it is more easily understood
  • Brands/retailers need to design quality and durable products
  • Reward consumers who repurpose and recycle 

Q2. What are the challenges for fashion brands / retailers to switch to sharing and collaborative business models more widely?

  • Making circular models apart of popular culture – e.g. Adidas partnership with Parley (design is desirable, and builds status)
  • Convincing people to share clothes/getting them on-board with sharing!
  • Brand apprehension – they need to know there is a market for it, and users of fashion need to be less ‘afraid’ of the sharing economy
  • Selling circular economy to brands and retailers
  • Breaking free from the traditional model ‘status quo’
  • Consumer perspective – quality, durability, hygiene concerns and guarantees
  • Outdated regulations for classifying waste
  • Making sustainability appealing to shareholders
  • It requires reverse logistics that retailers may not be equipped for
  • Fast fashion – to drive growth, we must sell more goods, which requires new styles each season
  • It needs to be an economically viable option
  • Lack of involvement from government

What can we learn from these sharing/collaborative examples?

  • Sharing initiatives can only be succesful if they are accessible 
  • Solving consumer demand and delivering on it without sacrificing quality, price, value and convenience

Q1. What are the best examples of sharing and collaborative economy models delivering circular benefits, in and outside the fashion industry?

  • Real Real (consignor and customer) their clothes feel worth owning
  • Rent the Runway and Rent Frock Repeat – clothing rental service

  • Re/done – jeans remanufactured, an example of ‘upcycling’

  • Thredup – unwanted clothing marketplace

  • Food swap apps – Olio

  • Infinite Style by Ann Taylor – subscription rental service that gives access to looks for a flat rate

  • Poshmark

  • Use-or service-driven approach – clothing ‘libraries’, leasing models, peer-to-peer models (e.g. Closet Collective)

  • Recommerce

  • London rental of unused car

  • Gwynnie Bee

  • Tool Library

  • AptDeco for buying and selling furniture and appliances

  • Patagonia Worn Wear (trade it in for repair and credit/buy used)

  • Renewal shop (partnership with North Face)

  • Global Fashion Exchange
  • Schwopping
  • Pley (monthly toy subscription)
  • Tchibo  - subscription service

Meet our Special Guests

Lona Alia
Founder & CEO
Style Lend
Raphael Bemporad
Founding Partner
Kate Daly
Executive Director, Center …
Closed Loop Partners
Kelly Drennan
Founding Executive Director
Fashion Takes Action
Jeffrey Hogue
Caroline Holme
Leslie Johnston
Executive Director
C&A Foundation
Rachel Kibbe
William McDonough
McDonough Innovation
Eliot Metzger
Senior Associate, Business …
World Resources Institute

Session Moderator

Perrine Bouhana
Associate Director, GlobeSc…
Paris, France


Leslie Johnston
We need to make circularity easier to understand. Or, as V…
Raphael Bemporad
Psychologically, we've been raised to equate ownership with…
Leslie Johnston
Brands want to know if there is a market for it. And we, a…
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