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Farfetch, Ted Baker to Pilot Circular Business Models

Ted Baker and Farfetch are on the fast track to the circular economy.

The British clothing chain and the online luxury e-tailer, together with Swiss outdoor-wear startup FW, announced Wednesday that they’ll be piloting resource-efficient strategies such as garment rental, resale and repair as part of efforts to explore more sustainable ways of doing business.

Spearheaded by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and consultancy firm QSA Partners, the Circular Fashion Fast Forward project will help participants develop and trial their own “bespoke” approaches, which, if successful, will be shared with the wider industry in the form of case studies.

LWARB and QSA Partners described resale as a “particularly strong growth area” for brands and retailers to consider, citing research by ThredUp and GlobalData that predicts the secondhand market to more than double in value from $24 billion today to $51 billion in 2023.

“More and more businesses are realizing the competitive advantage that circular business models can bring,” they noted in a statement. “Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable options from the brands they love, and circular approaches offer companies a real opportunity to create more value and profit whilst reducing their environmental impact.”

Indeed, Thomas Berry, director of sustainable business at Farfetch, described circular models like resale or rental as “big commercial opportunities” for the marketplace, which has partnered with rental platform Armarium at its Browns stores in London since 2018. This month, the e-tailer launched Farfetch Second Life, a handbag resale service that not only gives luxury items a “second chance” but also offers an additional avenue to connect with customers.

“We are excited to be working with LWARB and QSA to build the business case to accelerate our work in this area,” he added.

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Meeting customers where they are is also a driving motivation for Kate Wakeling, who serves as Ted’s Conscience manager at Ted Baker.

“Ted Baker is excited to be exploring opportunities within the circular economy and are pleased to have teamed up with QSA Partners and LWARB,” Wakeling said. “Ted’s wholly unique way of looking at things means we look forward to delivering something very special and meaningful for our customers.”

Circular Fashion Fast Forward is funded by C&A Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Belgium- and Germany-based retailer C&A, and falls under the auspices of the Bridging the Gap group, a consortium that includes the LWARB, QSA Partners, Circle Economy, Forum for the Future, Fashion for Good, World Resources Institute and the Waste and Resources Action Programme as members.

“The fashion industry needs to rapidly adopt new business models that increase the use of clothing and stop the use of unsustainable materials. This is a critical step towards a circular fashion sector,” said Megan McGill, programme manager at C&A Foundation. “The Circular Fashion Fast Forward project and the participating brands will demonstrate what can already be done today and inspire more industry players to follow.”