The Blueprint: A Sustainable Fashion Report by MAMOQ & Cambridge MBA Students

The Sustainable Fashion Blueprint Report 2018 is a report by London-based online retailer MAMOQ in collaboration with two MBA students Diane Albouy and Olabisi Adesida, from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. The Sustainable Fashion Blueprint Report highlights 6 of the most common business models which are used by brands to help the environment and to adopt social strategies. The report is based on consumer market research and an in-depth look at dozens of emerging sustainable fashion brands, including MAMOQ’s 60+ partner brands. The strategies are not ordered into priorities as each brand focuses on different aspects. On page 16 and 17, you can find details on what the term “sustainable fashion” means for the Sustainable Fashion Blueprint Report. Download the report here.  

Consumer Survey

The report starts with a consumer survey stating that most consumers would like to change a few aspects of the fashion industry in general. Some of them were: worker and animal exploitation, the creation of unrealistic body types, the artificial creation of needs (cycles and trends), the production process, access to affordably priced name brands and transparency/traceability in the supply chain. When it comes to criteria used by consumers to purchase fashion, sustainability is on number 4 of 6 directly after style, price and fit whereas comfort and quality appear as the least influential on shopping. You can find more interesting perceptions of the report.

6 Core Business Models

The report highlights 6 of the most common business models that are used by brands to help the environment and to adopt social strategies. We went through all 6 business models and summarized each of them below.

01. Closing The Loop

Closing the loop refers to moving away from a linear system (take-make-dispose) to a more circular system. A circular economy keeps products and materials in use, regenerates natural systems to reduces waste. That being said, Closing the loop applies to repair, recycling, using renewable energy and more. Read more on a circular system here.

One of the best practice examples according to the report is Elvis & Kresse. The accessories brand uses upcycled and reclaimed materials such as discarded fire hoses to create bags, belts and more.

02. Giving Back

Lots of companies give back by donating a certain share of profits to partner charities or organizations. To incorporate charitable missions into the business model has become a popular strategy that makes a positive impact on society and nature.

One of the best practice examples according to the report is the cruelty-free brand Votch from London that donates 10% of their profits from each sale to their ‘charity of the season’. Votch works with charities that compliment their vegan ethos, including Bali Animal Welfare Association, Love Always Animal Sanctuary, Folly Wildlife Rescue and Sumatran Orangutan Society.

03. Extending Life

Extending life means that the product is created with high quality and longevity to stand the test of time. This business model is similar to closing the loop but also depends on how customers treat their garments. Brands offer for example repair services, free patching or even include a lifetime warranty on their apparel or they work with buy-back programs and organizations that recycle the clothing.

One of the best practice examples according to the report is Flock By Nature. This brand works with mulesing-free, high-quality wool and offers a complimentary repair service for any mendable damages.

04. Managing Resources

Business models that focus on “Managing Resources” optimize the use of manpower and natural resources, simply: “They produce more with less”. The possibilities vary from using sustainable materials like certified organic cotton to empower their workforce by providing living wages, training, and other social incentives.

One of the best practice brands according to the report is Mayamiko. Mayamiko is a London-based brand that supports the local community in Malawi, Africa. Mayamiko set up their own Fashion Lab with local tailoring. The seamstresses create beautiful garments while benefiting from additional training and community development projects.

05. Revamping Supply Chain

More and more brands choose to produce on a pre-order or made-to-order model. This strategy saves resources, eliminating overproduction and dead stock and excesses production as the brand only produces what will be sold.

One of the best practice brands according to the report is Veryan. The brand offers a selection of made-to-order garments.

06. Pushing Boundaries

The report defines Pushing boundaries as “Explore beyond the present by preparing for future technologies”. Artificial intelligence will push the limits of customer insight, help better forecast production and optimize supply chains.”

One of the best practice examples is UND Swimwear. Instead of relying on virgin resources, the swimwear brand works with an innovative material made from recycled fishing nets rescued from our oceans.

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