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Does the Devil Wear Prada? Lessons in supply chain sustainability from luxury fashion

  • Date: Tue, Nov 10, 2020

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Professor Donna MarshallDr. Hakan Karaosman and Associate Professor Alessandro Brun, recently presented the results of a five-year ongoing research project, with multiple companies in the luxury fashion industry in The European Business Review. In the article they uncover the new strategic dimensions driving these companies: innovation, exclusivity, and consciousness and provide a radar for capturing sustainability practices along the dimensions of strategy, production stage and capability. In order to help senior managers who want to embed sustainability into their strategy and translate this into the right practices for their company, they also provided a sustainability practice decision-making matrix.

An Influential Industry

Fashion is more than just clothes. It is one of the world’s most influential industries, inspiring trends, capturing imaginations and blending art and production in creative and innovative ways. If the fashion industry is a trend-setter and innovation leader, then luxury fashion is the engine of the fashion industry. Luxury fashion is at the forefront of innovation with their catwalk designs and campaigns copied and emulated by the rest of the fashion industry. Individuals, regardless of their social status, are wealthier than at any other time in history[i], which has led to the growth of the luxury market to an estimated €1.2 trillion globally in 2018 and the personal luxury goods industry: apparel, textiles and footwear, alone, reached €260 billion in 2018, representing 6% growth[ii].

However, while luxury fashion items are made to last due to high-quality and durable materials, luxury fashion brands promote an insatiable appetite for consumers to buy new clothes with capsule items, cruise collections and celebrity-endorsed limited-edition ranges. Consequently, the global luxury fashion industry’s environmental and social costs, highlighted by NGOs and consumer groups, are a huge burden on society.

Read the full article here. This article was written by Dr. Hakan Karaosman, Professor Donna Marshall and Associate Professor Alessandro Brun and appeared in The European Business Review on Nov 9, 2020.

[i] Karim Benammar, “Abundance and Scarcity. Concepts and Rhetoric in Ecology, Economics, and Eco-Ethics.” In Beyond Green: Sustainability & Fashion, edited by J. Brand, T. Luyt, and M. Vos (Rotterdam, 2008): 40–52

[ii] Claudia D’Arpizio, Federica Levato, Filippo Prete, Elisa Del-Fabbro, and Joelle De-Montgolfier, “The Future of Luxury: A Look into Tomorrow to Understand Today.” (Milan, 2019)

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