Innovative business models: clothing

Our report explores the financial viability of business models that extend the life of clothes and increase the proportion of garments which are re-used.

Over 1.1 million tonnes of clothes are consumed and disposed of each year. Of this just under a third ends up in landfill. Our evidence shows that extending the active use of clothing can have the most significant impact on the carbon, waste and water footprints of clothing.

This report assesses the commercial opportunities for a number of alternatives to make-buy-use-dispose business models. The following five models were each assessed on the opportunity to build turnover as well as deliver a return on investment. 

  1. Repair and upgrading services for retailer or manufacturer own garments.
  2. New large-scale leasing services.
  3. New large-scale services for one-off hire.
  4. Re-sale section for pre-owned own-brand garments within retail stores.
  5. Peer to peer exchange.

For the models, scenarios have been developed based on conservative growth assumptions. The analysis also includes an examination of break-even points, where the business model moves into profit and can grow.

The models and scenarios, particularly for Models 2, 3 and 4, suggest that there is potential for a business case to be made that combines strong financial performance with reasonable savings in the numbers of garments going to waste.

Download the full report.