case study

Towards A Circular Business Model

The past two decades have seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of times clothes are actually worn compared to how long they could be worn. Coupled with a shift towards fast fashion, average consumers buy today 60% more items than they did 15 years ago and wear them for half as long. 70% of closets usually go unworn and it is estimated that 33% of women wear items in their closets for as little as 5 times before disposing them. Therefore, extending the active service life of garments is considered one of the most effective ways to reduce the overall impact of the clothing industry. Recommerce, rental and leasing offer commercial opportunities for brands to innovate their business model, while maximising the lifecycle of clothes to its full potential. Reusing a garment can extend its life cycle by 2.2 years, potentially reducing its water, carbon and waste footprint by around 73% . Changing consumer behaviour and the appetite of the younger generations for newness coupled with a greater interest in sustainability, will also foster brands to transition towards new ownership models in the near future.

“Switching Gear” will guide 6 leading brands on a circular innovation process towards the design and launch of renting and recommerce business model pilots.
The selected brands will receive 1-on-1 support and guidance and will follow a bespoke brand training programme on the Circular Economy, Business Model Innovation and Change Leadership, led by a multi disciplinary team of circularity experts, design thinkers and researchers. Additionally, the project will connect participating brands to a network of enabling circular solution providers and experts.

The project is one of 4 global initiatives supported by the C&A Foundation to ‘Bridge the Implementation Gap in the Apparel Sector’.

Why Participate?


Build capacity for circular innovation within your company

  • Selected brands will nominate core talent from within their organisation to join the circular activation teams on re-commerce or renting/leasing. Together with industry peers, circularity experts, design thinkers and researchers, each team will jointly cultivate expertise and leadership capabilities towards new business model innovation.

Launch a new value adding & impact saving circular business model for your brand

  • “Switching Gear” will provide your company expert support in designing and launching a circular business model that best suits your brand and market. We will guide you in exploring the opportunities for re-commerce or renting/leasing models, the value it can bring to your brand and customers, as well as the critical steps to make it happen.

Get exclusive access to a network of enabling circular solution providers and experts

  • Selected brands will be supported over the course of two years by a network of circularity experts, like-minded companies and pioneering solution providers. This community of practice will provide continual guidance and invaluable insight as well as the knowledge and network needed to successfully design, operationalise and launch circular pilots.

Be recognised as an industry frontrunner in circular business model innovation

  • These 6 brands will be acknowledged as a foundational partner of the project. By partaking in and contributing to the project results, the brand will be recognized as a champion in this field of circular business model innovation.

Is your brand curious about circular business models and looking for practical direction and support on getting started? “Switching Gear” will run from May 2019 to November 2020 and is currently onboarding brands. We would love to hear from you!

Final brand selection: April 12th. Apply now to learn more!

Sign up here


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