The Issues of Fashion Brand Equity in a Circular Economy

Jolanta Bieńkowska


Theoretical background: The worldwide fashion business has confronted the demand to transit from a linear to a circular business model that involves a series of fundamental alterations to the hitherto highly efficient strategies. As a consequence, a conceptual issue concerning fashion brand value creation has emerged. This applies notably to luxury, premium and fast fashion brands. Satisfying the expectations of customers and stakeholders should cease to be simply a matter of manufacturing a varied and impressive product line, since it has to be both sustainable and sensitive to the emergent requirements of the natural and social environment. Along with the aforementioned challenges, the key messages conveyed by brands through the marketing communication are also undergoing a transformation.

Purpose of the article: To present the perspectives on building fashion brand equity in a circular economy, including risks and opportunities.

Research methods: A review of scientific and specialised studies, selected using specific keywords, was undertaken. Data sources included academic resources: books, articles, market data (e.g. McKinsey & Company) and statistics published on the Statista platform, as well as specialised resources: expert articles, reports from organisations approaching the issue under research (e.g. EU, UN, Fashion Revolution, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, etc.). The search area was composed of electronic resources: licensed, open access websites and topic-related websites. The aim of the data analysis was to systematise background knowledge through an inductive method.

Main findings: 1. The fashion business needs a change of mission, vision and strategy along with cooperation and coopetition among brands of the luxury goods, mass goods and organic MSMEs markets within its ecosystems in order to achieve the expected brand value. 2. The implementation of circular economy model in the fashion business implies the necessity to restrict overproduction and overconsumption of clothes and accessories at the same time as utilising sustainable raw materials and production technologies. Furthermore, it requires the dissemination of the slow fashion model, which incorporates the reuse of clothes by other users (rental of clothes, second hand, upcycling). 3. Change of consumer behaviour, popularisation of research findings and expertise from independent organizations is a factor stimulating fashion brands to act towards a circular economy in order to maintain high brand value.


luxury fashion; fast fashion; sustainable fashion; ecology; circular economy

Full Text:



Albella, E., Balchandani, A., Cornbleet, N., & Lee L. (2022). In search of fashion’s sustainability seekers. McKinsey & Company.

Allied Market Research. (2022). Luxury apparel market value worldwide from 2020 to 2031. Retrieved from

ASOS. (2022). ASOS launches second circular design collection and trial partnership with Thrift+. Retrieved from

Aspers, P. (2016). Orderly Fashion: A Sociology of Markets. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Barthes, R. (1983). The Fashion System. New York: Hill and Wang.

Blue Arrow. (2021). Patagonia nie chce już rosnąć. Jej szef mówi: „Klienci powinni nam odprzedawać nasze produkty”. Retrieved from

BoF. (2022a). The State of Fashion 2022. McKinsey & Company.

BoF. (2022b). The BoF Sustainability Index 2022. The BoF INSIGHTS.

Brewer, M.K. (2019). Slow Fashion in a Fast Fashion World: Promoting Sustainability and Responsibility. Laws, 8(4), 24. doi:10.3390/laws8040024

Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bucher, A. (2022). H&M class action alleges ‘sustainability profiles’ use false, misleading data. Retrieved from

Burger, M. (2012). Brand Equity and Brand Value: Explanation and Measurement. Books on Demand.

Butler, J. (2017). Literature review. Resources for. In M. Allen (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods (pp. 880–881). SAGE Publication.

Chan, E. (2019). Is fast fashion taking a green future seriously? Vogue, 23 August. Retrieved from

Cranley, E. (2019). H&M’s CEO says that climate activists are encouraging people to ‘stop consuming,’ which poses a ‘terrible’ threat to the fashion industry. Business Insider. Retrieved from

Crowther, D., & Lancaste, G. (2012). Research Methods. London: Routledge.

Cybis, P., & Bernard, S. (2021). Fast fashion: Why firms incinerate deadstock, and public policies. Clean Economy Working Paper Series. Retrieved from

Dana, T. (2008). Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. Penguin Books.

DeVoy, J.E., Congiusta, E., Lundberg, D.J., Findeisen, S., & Bhattacharya S. (2021). Post-consumer textile waste and disposal: Differences by socioeconomic, demographic, and retail factors. Waste Management, 136, 303–309. doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2021.10.009

Dicker, Ch. (2018). Coco Chanel Biography: The Legend of The Fashion Industry Revealed. Digital Publishing Group.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2017). A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future. Retrieved from

Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2021). The Jeans Redesign Guidelines. Retrieved from

Euratex. (2022). Facts & Key Figures 2022 of the European Textile and Clothing Industry. Retrieved from

European Commission. (2022). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions EU. Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, Brussels.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. (2019). Support report mapping sustainable fashion opportunities for SMEs. Publications Office.

Fashion Revolution. (2022). Fashion Transparency Index 2022.

Fisher, S. (Ed.) (2004). Archival Information: How to Find It, How to Use It. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Fletcher, K. (2010). Slow fashion: An invitation for systems change. Fashion Practice: The Journal of Design. Creative Process & the Fashion Industry, 2(2), 259–266. doi:10.2752/175693810X12774625387594

Gander, J. (2017). Strategic Analysis: A Creative and Cultural Industries Perspective. London – New York: Taylor & Francis.

Good on You. (2022). Why Do Some Fashion Brands Destroy and Burn Unsold Clothes? Retrieved from

Granskog, A., Lee, L., Magnus, K.H., & Sawers, C. (2020). Survey: Consumer sentiment on sustainability in fashion. McKinsey & Company.

Heikkilä, M., & Kuivaniemi, L. (2012). Ecosystem under construction: An action research study on entrepreneurship in a business ecosystem. Technology Innovation Management Review, 2, 18–24. doi:10.22215/timreview/564

Hepworth, N., Narte, R., Samuel E., & Neumand, S. (2021). How fair is fashion’s water footprint? Tackling the global fashion industry’s destructive impacts on Africa’s water and workforce health. Water Witness International.

Jocić, S. (2022). Sustainability in fashion: The role of a fashion designer in shaping a future that is ecologically acceptable and socially responsible. Tekstilna industrija, 70, 12–22. doi:10.5937/tekstind2201012J

Juanga-Labayen, J.P., Labayen, I.V., & Yuan, Q.A. (2022). Review on textile recycling practices and challenges. Textiles, 2, 174–188. doi:10.3390/ textiles2010010

Kaiser, S.B. (2013). Fashion and Cultural Studies. A&C Black.

Keller, K.L. (2003). Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Kim, A.C., Dongchul, H., & Aeung-Bae, P. (2001). The effect of brand personality and brand identification on brand loyalty: applying the theory of social identification. Japanese Psychological Research, 43, 195–206.

Kim, I., Jung, H.J., & Lee, Y. (2021). Consumers’ value and risk perceptions of circular fashion: Comparison between secondhand, upcycled, and recycled clothing. Sustainability, 13, 1208. doi:10.3390/su13031208

Kim, Y.K., & Sullivan, P. (2019). Emotional branding speaks to consumers’ heart: The case of fashion brands. Fashion & Textiles, 6, 2. doi:10.1186/s40691-018-0164-y

Köhler, A., Watson, D., Trzepacz, S., Löw, C., Liu, R., Danneck, J., Konstantas, A., Donatello, S., & Faraca, G. (2021). Circular Economy Perspectives in the EU Textile sector. Luxemburg: Publications Office of the European Union. doi:10.2873/828412

Kopp, M., Cobbing, M., & Wohlgemuth, V. (2021). Self regulation: A fashion fairytale. Greenpeace Germany. Retrieved from

Kotler, P. (2005). Dziesięć śmiertelnych grzechów marketingu. Warszawa: PWE.

Kumar, J., Singha, K., Pandit, P., Maity, S., & Ray, A. (2020). Challenges for waste in fashion and textile industry. In P. Pandit, S. Ahmed, K. Singha, S. Shrivastava (Eds.), Recycling from Waste in Fashion and Textiles: A Sustainable and Circular Economic Approach (pp. 1–33). John Wiley & Sons.

Mahmood, Z. (2022). Ultra-fast fashion is taking over – and using every trick in the book to get us addicted. The Guardian, 18 April. Retrieved from

Mielcarek, P. (2014). Metoda case study w rozwoju teorii naukowych. Organizacja i Kierowanie, 1(161), 105–117.

Moorhouse, D. (2020). Making fashion sustainable: Waste and collective responsibility. One Earth, 3(1), 17–19. doi:10.1016/j.oneear.2020.07.002

Niinimäki, K., Peters, G., Dahlbo, H., Perry, P., Rissanen, T., & Gwilt, A. (2020). The environmental price of fast fashion. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 1, 189–200. doi:10.1038/s43017-020-0039-9

OECD. (2018). Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2018: Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies. Paris: OECD Publishing. doi:10.1787/9789264301061-en

Pandit, P., Singha, K., Shrivastava, S., & Ahmed, S. (2020). Overview on recycling from waste in fashion and textiles: A sustainable and circular economic approach. In P. Pandit, S. Ahmed, K. Singha, S. Shrivastava (Eds.), Recycling from Waste in Fashion and Textiles: A Sustainable and Circular Economic Approach (pp. 1–18). John Wiley & Sons.

Papandrea, D., & Sherrier, J. (2021). 55% Would Spend More on Eco-Friendly Products While Willing to Boycott Less-Green Companies. LendingTree.

Park, C.W., MacInnis, D.J., Priester, J., Eisingerich, A.B., & Iacobucci, D. (2010). Brand attachment and brand attitude strength: Conceptual and empirical differentiation of two critical brand equity drivers. Journal of Marketing, 74(6), 1–17.

Pierzchała, K., & Pierzchała, K. (2020). Świadomość ekologiczna i etyczna młodych konsumentów marek modowych. Retrieved from

Peters, T.J., & Waterman, R.H., Jr. (2012). In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies. New York: HarperCollins.

Pouillard, V. (2021). Paris to New York: The Transatlantic Fashion Industry in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Pucker, K.P. (2022). The myth of sustainable fashion. Harvard Business Review, 13 January. Retrieved from

Putton, M.Q. (2015). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods: Integrating Theory and Practice. SAGE Publications.

Research and Markets (2022). Fast Fashion Global Market Report 2022. Retrieved from,(CAGR)%20of%207.7%25

Rustam, R. (2021). Animal Welfare in Fashion 2021: Towards a truly ethical and transparent fashion industry. Animal Welfare. Worldwide.

Sadowski, M., Perkins, L., & McGarvey, E. (2021). Roadmap to Net Zero: Delivering Science-Based Targets in the Apparel Sector. World Resources Institute, Working Paper.

Schumacher, K., & Foster, A.L. (2022). Facilitating a Circular Economy for Textiles Workshop Report. National Institute of Standards and Technology. doi:10.6028/NIST.SP.1500-207

Sivan, S., Abratt R., & Bendixen, M. (2019). The role of brand authenticity in developing brand trust. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 27(8), 714–729. doi:10.1080/0965254X.2018.1466828

Sloot, L.M., Verhoef P.C., & Franses, P.H. (2005). The impact of brand equity and the hedonic level of products on consumer stock-out reactions. Journal of Retailing, 81(1), 15–34.

Snyder, H. (2019). Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Journal of Business Research, 104, 333–339. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.07.039

Socha, J. (2018). Kup, zużyj, nie wyrzucaj. ICAN Management Review. Retrieved from

Stokburger-Sauer, N., Ratneshwar, S., & Sen, S. (2012) Drivers of consumer–brand identification. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29(4), 406–418. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2012.06.001

Sullivan, J. (2015). Karl Marx, Fashion and Capitalism. In A. Rocamora & A. Smelik (Eds.), Thinking Through Fashion: A Guide to Key Theorists. Dress Cultures (pp. 28–45). London – New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Sverko Grdic, Z., Krstinic Nizic, M., & Rudan, E. (2020). Circular economy concept in the context of economic development in EU countries. Sustainability, 12(7), 3060. doi:10.3390/su12073060

Synthetics Anonymous. Fashion brands’ addiction to fossil fuels. (2021). Changing Markets Foundation. Retrieved from

The Business Research Company (2022). Ethical Fashion Market 2022. Retrieved from











Data publikacji: 2023-05-22 13:42:29
Data złożenia artykułu: 2022-11-23 14:36:08


Total abstract view - 139
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 0



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Jolanta Bieńkowska

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.