Slowing Resource Loops in the Circular Economy: An Experimentation Approach in Fashion Retail

  • Nancy BockenEmail author
  • Karen Miller
  • Ilka Weissbrod
  • Maria Holgado
  • Steve Evans
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 130)


The Circular Economy is viewed as an important driver for resolving resource issues and tackling sustainability issues more broadly. The fashion industry operates in a largely linear way and suffers from various environmental, societal and economic challenges. In a Circular Economy, first and foremost, products need to be retained at the highest level, thus slowing resource loops. Slowing resource loops goes against current fast fashion trends and therefore appears the most difficult approach to pursue. This paper investigates how a large established retailer aims to slow resource loops as part of a broader project targeted to significantly reduce textile waste to landfill. The retailer collaborated with a university partner to pursue circular business model experiments. This paper reports on the approach for a slowing resource loops experiment around building sewing capabilities. Suggestions for future research and practice on circular business model experimentation are included.



This work was supported by the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Industrial Sustainability (Reference EP/I033351/1); the Innovate UK competition ‘Supply Chain Innovation towards a Circular Economy’ (IUK Ref 101902); and Climate-KIC, the public-private partnership created by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (Regulation (EU) No 1292/2013).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Bocken
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Karen Miller
    • 1
  • Ilka Weissbrod
    • 4
  • Maria Holgado
    • 1
  • Steve Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Engineering, Institute for ManufacturingUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Lund University, IIIEELundSweden
  3. 3.Industrial Design EngineeringTU DelftDelftThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Centre for Environmental Policy, Faculty of Natural SciencesImperial College LondonLondonUK

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