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Circular Fashion Supply Chain Management

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

Deadline: 30 April 2018

The fashion and apparel industry is highly wasteful and resource draining in nature (EEA, 2014), with a strikingly high environmental cost stemming from natural resource usage, generation of  effluents during apparel production, and the scale of landfill produced during disposal (Fletcher, 2016; Pulse of the Fashion Industry, 2017). The scale of the problem is increasing in-line with increasing demand for clothing, as global production surmounted 1 billion items in 2014 and consumption is over 62 million tons (McKinsey and Company, 2016). Further, several ethical practice breaches e.g. lack of corporate social responsibilities, unethical dumping of wastes and used items to Asia and Africa that eventually suppresses the local clothing economy have emerged as negative externalities and have not been satisfactorily accounted for (Brooks and Simon, 2012; GSI, 2013).

In this context, the urge for a systemic change from current linear and extractive industrial model of "take, make and dispose” to circular (closed-loop) model of material flows is growing (Ellen MacArthur Foundation; WEF, 2014) with increasing expectation from government and the public that enterprises would manage their wastes and products’ end-of-life, and thus requires comprehensive attention towards underlying circular supply chains and associated business models (Loombaa and Nakashima, 2012; Bocken, 2014; 2016).

However, despite this necessity and several strong emerging cases of circularity in diverse industrial sectors and economies (Preston, 2012; Su et al., 2013), the established and mainstream models that operate in the fashion apparel sector have remained largely unchanged. Omitting the true cost of these models blunts the innovation incentive to discover and develop new more sustainable ways of creating and capturing value in fashion apparel (Stubbs and Cocklin, 2008; Pal, 2017). To overcome this obstacle, the circular fashion supply chains and operations, and business models deserve more comprehensive understanding and scholarship. At the research frontier, reporting of research and initiatives related to sustainability of fashion supply chains and business models have focused on a much wider perspective (Shen et al., 2014; Shen 2014), and have not been targeted specifically to address the issues pertaining to circularity thus lacking organized scholarship in this area. Further the present research is biased more towards fashion design and technological issues.

Objective and potential topics

The special issue of Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management addresses innovative perspectives, unveils best practices, and strives to bring relevant theory forward in this area. The objective of the special issue is to create comprehensive and focussed understanding of the impact and implications of circular supply chain management operations, practices, and strategies of extended fashion enterprises, and the role they can play towards developing a sustainable circular economy in fashion and apparel industry context. This leaves room for instigating critical and constructive discussion of management and operational issues related to circular fashion supply chains for deeper and concise knowledge creation, as is intended via this special issue. This will be met by encouraging academics, practitioners and change makers to submit scientific manuscripts that better position fashion supply chain operations into the circular economy context, this way providing a more comprehensive and up-to-date contribution to the wider debate on fashion industry circularity, thus truly broaden the existing research frontier.

The notion of ‘circularity’ or circular supply chains and business models refer to the flow of not only products, but also by-products and wastes in a restorative and regenerative ‘loop’ of production and consumption, aimed towards narrowing, slowing and closing the resource and energy flows (Linder and Williander, 2012; Bocken 2016). Over the last decade, the concept of circularity has thus gone beyond just recycling and encompasses a holistic view along five major underlying supply chain structures and business models, that of circular supplies, resources recovery, product life extension, sharing or collaborative platforms, and product as a service. The inner circular loops (sharing platforms and product as service) provide the possibility to retain higher value of the original product predominantly centered on service or product-service design (Pal, 2016). These loops can be operationalized through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling, etc. (Geissdoerfer et al. 2017), and demands continuous exchange of resources and information facilitated by innovative logistics and supply chain. The transition to a circular closed-loop supply chain thus demands a new logistics system which considers the entire lifecycle of the product and its circulation within the society for as long as possible, with the maximum product longevity coupled with the maximum efficient utilization of resources, minimum waste production and least environmental damage and pollution (Ferguson, 2009). Such exchanges in supply chains go beyond organizational boundaries to include inter-organizational collaboration and networks (Bourlakis et al. 2014) where organizations from diverse sectors (profit, governmental and social) play a more interactive and relational role (Pal, 2017).

Yet the transformation to a circular fashion supply chain strategies requires technological breakthroughs. In this context, emerging Industry 4.0 concepts and digital tools, such as internet of things (IoT) related to sharing platforms, recycling technologies, robotics to increase traceability and reduce waste, additive manufacturing techniques etc. reinforces the notion of circular supply chains. We encourage submission of manuscripts that better position these technological advancements for actual enactment of circular socio-economic change; however we adjudge contribution of technical papers not within the scope of this special issue.

Papers in this special issue can thus include, but are not limited to:
• Circular fashion supply chain practices, principles and related theoretical settings towards developing comprehensive definitions, conceptual models and the like,
• Drivers, opportunities and benefits, challenges and barriers to planning, implementation and control of circular fashion supply chain operations, systems, and ecosystems,
• New structures, business models and collaborative forms enabling efficient and effective circularity of fashion products, raw material supplies and associated wastes,
• Exploratory cases of circular supply chain management based on reuse, remanufacturing, recycling, collaborative consumption, etc.,
• Tools reinforcing circular fashion supply chains, such as those enhancing digitalization, traceability, systemic integration and information sharing,
• Circular fashion supply chains in Industry 4.0 context,
• Circular fashion supply chains and initiatives in diverse economies and markets.

Adopted research methodology can be qualitative or quantitative, such as case studies, surveys, operations research methods, action research, etc. We also invite interested authors to contribute with critical reviews pertaining to the field.


Bocken, N.M.P., Short, S.W., Rana, P., & Evans, S., 2014, A literature and practice review to develop SBM archetypes, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 65, pp. 42-56.
Bocken, N.M.P., de Pauw, I., Bakker, C., & van der Grinten, B., 2016, Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy, Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering, Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 308-320.
Bourlakis, M., Maglaras, G., Aktas, E., Gallear, D., & Fotopoulos, C., 2014a, Firm size and sustainable performance in food supply chain: Insights from Greek SMEs, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 152, pp. 112-130.
Brooks, A., and Simon, D., 2012, Unravelling the relationships between used clothing imports and the decline of African clothing industries, Development and Change, Vol 43, No. 6, pp. 1265-1290.
Ellen McArthur Foundation, 2013, Towards the circular economy: Economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition, https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/publications/Ellen-MacArthur-Foundation-Towards-the-Circular-Economy-vol.1.pdf (20.05.2016).
European Environmental Agency (EEA), 2014. Environmental Indicator Report: Environmental impacts of production and consumption systems in Europe, Publications of the European Union: Luxembourg.
Ferguson, M., 2009, Strategic and Tactical Aspects of Closed-Loop Supply Chains, Foundations and Trends® in Technology, Information and Operations Management, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 101-200.WEF, 2014, Towards the Circular Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains, World Economic Forum Report.
Fletcher, K. 2016, Craft of Use: Post Growth fashion, Routledge: Oxon.
Geissdoerfer, M., Savaget, P., Bocken, N., & Hultink, E., 2017, The Circular Economy – A new sustainability paradigm?, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 143, February, pp. 757-768.
GS1 2013, Research support for an informal expert group on product traceability (Final Report), Prepared for the European Commission Directorate General. Health and Consumers (DG SANCO), (9.10.2013).
Linder, M., and Williander, M., 2015, Circular Business Model Innovation: Inherent Uncertainties, Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 182-196.
Loombaa, A., & Nakashima, K., 2012, Enhancing value in reverse supply chains by sorting before product recovery, Production Planning & Control, Vol. 23, No. 23, pp. 205-215.
McKinsey & Company, 2016, Style that’s fashionable: A new fast-fashion formula, Sustainability & Resource Productivity, http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability-and-resource-productivity/our-insights/style-thats-sustainable-a-new-fast-fashion-formula (7.7.2017).
Pal, R., 2016, Extended responsibility through servitization in PSS, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 453-470.
Pal, R., 2017, Value creation through reverse logistics in used clothing networks, International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 28, No. 3, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-11-2016-0272
Preston, F., 2012, A Global Redesign? Shaping the Circular Economy. Chatham House Briefing Paper Energy, Environment and Resource Governance BP 2012/02, https://www.bitcni.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/bp0312_preston.pdf (20.7.2017).
Pulse of the Fashion Industry, 2017, Global Fashion Agenda & Boston Consulting Group, https://www.copenhagenfashionsummit.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Pulse-of-the-Fashion-Industry_2017.pdf (6.6.2017).
Shen, B. 2014, Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain: Lessons from H&M, Sustainability, Vol. 6, No. 9, pp. 6239-6249.
Shen, B., Zheng, J.H., Chow, P.S., Chow, K.Y., 2014, Perception of Fashion Sustainability in Online Community, Journal of the Textile Institute, Vol. 105, No. 9, pp. 971-979.
Stubbs, W., and Cocklin, C., 2008, Conceptualizing a sustainability business model, Organization & Environment, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 103-127.
Su, B., Heshmati, A., Geng, Y. & Yu, X., 2013, A review of the circular economy in China: moving from rhetoric to implementation, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 42, pp. 215-227.


Submission Instructions

The deadline for submission is 30 April 2018.
Authors should prepare their final manuscripts following Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management’s instructions for authors, available here. Selected papers will go through a rigorous double-blind reviewing process.
Papers should be submitted to JFMM’s online submission system via ScholarOne Manuscripts here.
Authors are requested to insert the code "SI:x" at the start of the title field when submitting the manuscript.
For further information and enquiries, please contact Guest Editor Rudrajeet Pal by email (rudrajeet.pal@hb.se).

Editorial Information

The guest editors are:
-    Rudrajeet Pal, Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, Sweden
-    Bin Shen, Glorious Sun School of Business and Management, Donghua University, China
-    Erik Sandberg, Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Sweden