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This book provides a critical overview of technologies that are used within the fashion industry and supply chain, with a special emphasis on how they engender sustainability and the circular economy. The chapters present contemporary case studies alongside new research on technologies such as 3D printing, 3D scanning and recycling technology to assess the effect they will have on the future of fashion and its global supply chain.



1. Introduction

The following collection of chapters is a collaboration of academics from across Europe investigating technology within the fashion industry and its impact on creating a more sustainable way of production and manufacturing. All of the scholars are renowned independent scientists who share the same drive in creating a sustainable supply chain.
Gianpaolo Vignali, Louise F. Reid, Daniella Ryding, Claudia E. Henninger

2. Closing the Loop: Intentional Fashion Design Defined by Recycling Technologies

This chapter focuses on possibilities and limitations in fashion design using a closed loop approach. It describes how future recycling technologies will transform current garment design. As sustainable development enters the understanding of the circular economy (CE) approach, the principle of closing the material loop and recycling technology define the framework in which fashion designers have to work in the future. This chapter shows how this new knowledge on the recycling phase will have practical implications on fashion designers’ ways of designing garment lifecycles in the future. While doing so, the chapter constructs a definition of intentional fashion design that enables recycling.
Kirsi Niinimäki, Essi Karell

3. A Designer Contribution to the Use of CNC Machines Within the Supply Chain in Order to Extend Clothing Life Span

The garment industry—the second most polluting industry worldwide—called for a global transition to a circular economy at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit (2017). This led us to study how modularity could contribute to reconcile extended clothes life span with the pleasure of fashion renewal. While the history of garments has been familiar with removable and reversible systems, contemporary clothing seems to resist the reusable spare parts concept developed in sustainable object designs. Consequently, sewn garments, preponderant since the Paleolithic, needed to be questioned. Transposing to clothing G. Simondon’s open object philosophy through practice-based prospective, we propose, in response to the fabless system of fast fashion, a local and on-demand production—inspired by fablabs—of seamless modular clothing, thus opening up new avenues to digital pattern trade in light of computer numerical control (CNC) technologies. Such a systemic approach led us to rethink the roles of both the user and the fashion designer.
Elisabeth Jayot

4. The Emergence of New Business Models to Foster Sustainability: Applying Technology to Revise the Fashion Industry

New service offerings, moving away from individual ownership towards access-based consumption, are rapidly evolving, addressing changing customer needs of sustainability concerns. Thereby, advancements of digital technologies enable new business models to evolve allowing for innovative forms of resource allocation. This chapter investigates the role of innovative businesses on sustainable development including two case studies.
A thorough literature review on current trends in digital technology and consumption modes is presented. Specifically, different concepts of access-based services and collaborative consumption are discussed. Furthermore, this research is complemented by two case studies from the fashion industry, namely the companies “MUD Jeans” and “Filippa K”, to illustrate theoretical considerations of short-term rental and long-term leasing in a practical context.
Overall, it becomes clear that pioneering businesses in the fashion industry allow for new forms of value creation, including a variety of stakeholders. The two exemplary cases show that future-oriented companies can not only enhance customer value but also profit economically while reducing their negative environmental impact. Thus, our research corresponds to the shift from classical goods-dominant logic towards service-dominant logic, considering the change in assumptions made about value creation.
Nina Bürklin, Kathrin Risom

5. Removing the Dye Kitchen from the Textile Supply Chain

This research explores the concept of mimicking structural colour in nature as an alternative to traditional textile colouration techniques. In particular, the research focuses on certain species of insect that have inspired new research and development in the textile industry.
Celina Jones, Claudia E. Henninger

6. Designing Products for the Circular Economy

Until recent years, apparel product design was undertaken with very little reference to environmental sustainability. However, the legislative framework has increasingly constrained design decisions related to the use of hazardous chemicals, especially with the advent of REACH regulations within the EU. Most companies now recognise a large number of chemical substances that are prohibited in the dyeing and finishing of textiles. This dominates thinking about design for the environment. The increasing adoption of environmental management systems has expanded the vision for initiatives promoting sustainability, including those in laundering and care. Principles are recognised for product design and development that have led to more sustainable goods and services.
In some industries, regulations require producer to take responsibility for the disposal of products that companies release to the market. This obligation has triggered thinking about design for disassembly and design for disposal. This development has accelerated the adoption of circular economy concepts. The EU has not implemented producer responsibility in apparel, although some companies have voluntarily championed circular economy initiatives. However, the business models of most apparel companies have nothing to say about end-of-life issues.
This chapter is concerned with new product development processes that incorporate Design for Environment and Design for Disassembly and Design for Disposal. As there are numerous technical issues to address, a team-based product development process has many advantages, whereby garment designers work alongside specialists from other disciplines. This process requires culture change to be embraced by most brand owners and a departure from the practice of separating the design process from the product development process. In most cases, changes of this nature bring disruption to a globalised industrial sector.
Case studies that illustrate the concepts developed in this chapter will be considered. In particular, the French experience of adopting producer responsibility for apparel goods is considered. The accredited organisation ECO TLC exhibits strength in the promotion of sustainability projects, but there is a fundamental weakness in that culture change in the design process of brand owners is hard to discern.
David J. Tyler, Sara L.-C. Han

7. Digital Technology for Global Supply Chain in Fashion: A Contribution for Sustainability Development

The global fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. In the last few years, with globalization and fast fashion, the pollution has increased. It is easy to see that fashion markets are, day after day, more synonymous with rapid change, and as a result, commercial success or failure is largely determined by an organization’s flexibility and responsiveness (Christopher, M., Lowson, R., & Peck, H., International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management 32:367–376, 2004).
When a firm competes in any industry, it performs several discrete but interconnected value-creating activities, such as operating a sales force, producing a component or delivering products, and these activities are connected with the activities of suppliers, channels and customers (Azevedo, S. G., Ferreira, J., & Leitão, J., The role of Logistics’ Information and communication Technologies in promoting Competitive Advantages of the Firm (1359), 2007). The recent embracing of new business models that encourage design for reuse and improve materials recovery represents a departure from historic production and consumption systems.
In fact, classical economic theory posits that disproportionate production and consumption patterns represent a natural or desirable outcome since they drive the creation of wealth resulting from economic activity (including the flow and use of raw materials and resources) and trade of goods and services (Genovese et al. 2016). Based on this information, this chapter seeks to show an approach to present a solution. Digital technology to source in a global supply chain for fashion, how this tool can be a plus for the fashion business, to sustainable development and the benefits in using these kinds of platforms in a supply chain context from an environmental, market, policy and societal point of view. Regarding the methodology approach, digital platform development was made as an adaptation of the project methodology.
To conclude, digital technology can contribute significantly to facilitate and improve sourcing in the fashion industry, and it could be a plus not only for the global fashion market but also for new entrepreneurs that need to grow and globalize their business, minimize costs and time losses, and contribute for the sustainability.
Madalena Pereira, Liliana Pina, Benilde Reis, Rui Miguel, Manuel Silva, Paulo Rafael

8. 3D-Printing in the Fashion Industry: A Fad or the Future?

Although 3D printing has made headlines and is an up-and-coming technology, it remains currently under-researched. The red kinematics dress designed by van Herpen has received media attention and is featured as future couture in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which enhances its exclusivity and luxury vibe. Although 3D printing is not a new phenomenon per se, it thus far has received little attention from a consumer behaviour angle. This chapter provides a critical insight into how Chinese luxury consumers, as the leading purchasing power of this segment, perceive 3D-printed garments and their potential to enter the Chinese market.
Helen McCormick, Ran Zhang, Rosy Boardman, Celina Jones, Claudia E. Henninger

9. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: New Drivers for Fashion Retail?

This chapter is conceptual in nature and focuses on more recent technological innovations that have been implemented within the fashion industry, namely Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). The technology acceptance model (TAM) will be utilised to further evaluate the perceived usefulness and the ease of use of AR and VR from a consumer perspective, by drawing on current fashion examples. The chapter concludes by highlighting future directions for research.
Rosy Boardman, Claudia E. Henninger, Ailing Zhu

10. Three-Dimensional Body Scanning in Sustainable Product Development: An Exploration of the Use of Body Scanning in the Production and Consumption of Female Apparel

The fashion industry is plagued with complications regarding garment sizing and inadequate fit. Inconsistent sizing systems, coupled with the lack of attention by industry in understanding deviations in female body shapes, not only impose severe implications upon the consumer decision-making process but also inflict issues regarding sustainability. As a result of recent advancements in technology, three-dimensional (3D) body scanning has been argued to be the solution to these issues, by providing a more sustainable method of clothing production and distribution, as well as enhancing apparel fit. Indeed, 3D body scanning technology has the ability to capture replicable and more consistent data sets than manual measurement collection. However, this chapter challenges the current application of 3D body scanning in apparel production by addressing two vital limitations. The first challenge explored is the incompatibility of 3D body scan measurements with manual product practices. Second, consumer fit preferences are often overlooked by body shape and measurement. Hence, this chapter reasons that only when these key limitations are addressed can 3D body scanning help facilitate sustainable practice and provide retailers with enough information to develop well-fitted apparel.
Louise F. Reid, Gianpaolo Vignali, Katharine Barker, Courtney Chrimes, Rachel Vieira

11. Does Technology Affect Customer-Brand Relationships? A Study of Premium Fashion Consumers

The introduction of innovative technologies in physical stores is producing changes in the retail landscape and in the nature of consumers’ shopping behaviour (Verhoef, P., Kannan, P., & Inman, J., Journal of Retailing 91, 174–181, 2015). This research explores the role of in-store technologies and their effects on customer-brand relationship within premium fashion retail stores. Through the use of multi-method qualitative methods for data collection—focus group and semi-structured interviews—this study tries to better understand the customer perspective on the implementation of in-store technologies and their effect on their relationship with retailers. The research develops a conceptual framework based on the Technology Adoption Model (TAM) and customer-brand relationship dimensions—brand satisfaction, brand trust and brand loyalty—in the premium fashion retail context. It offers beneficial practical insights and recommendations for premium fashion retailers on the usage and implementation of in-store technologies to enhance their relationship with customers.
Vedika Dugar, Marta Blazquez, Claudia E. Henninger

12. Opening New Opportunities to Close the Loop: How Technology Influences the Circular Economy

Over the past decades, the fashion industry has become one of the most resource-intensive industries in the world. Throughout the whole value chain, from production to usage as well as with regard to disposal of clothing, there’s a huge impact. Nevertheless, advancements in modern technology have served to develop innovative solutions to enhance a circular economy leading to waste reduction, design for longevity and service offerings.
The study at hand is the first to closely investigate the concept of a circular economy based on a holistic seven-stage framework. Combining conceptual foundations with multiple case studies, it contributes to a further understanding of sustainable development through technological innovations.
This chapter contains a multiple case study approach based on the seven-stage Close The Loop framework established in 2015 (resources, design, production, retail, consumption, end of life and systems thinking/sustainable entrepreneurship). Thus, each phase in the cyclical process is discussed conceptually and further illustrated through best practices from a database of more than 350 innovative cases in fashion. Lastly, concrete managerial implications for hands-on strategies to be implemented in fashion are derived.
Results depict the current status quo of technology in fashion and propose the implication of diverse innovations to foster a circular economy. These can range from 3D-virtual prototyping in order to save resources up to block chain systems to increase transparency along the whole value chain. Further findings include the use of technology to create a stronger bond between consumers and their clothing to avoid quick disposal of their items.
Nina Bürklin, Jasmien Wynants
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