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In Pursuit of Sustainability: Challenges of Swedish Fashion Companies
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3734-1250
2016 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Problem – With this study the authors wish to start the debate of moving away from the two existing extreme categories, fast and slow fashion, as described in the current literature. First, the authors argue that because of Swedish fashion companies are increasingly focusing and working with sustainability, a new category of fashion in terms of sustainability should be introduced to the existing literature on fast and slow fashion, namely transitional fashion. Second, the authors examine which communication strategies the Swedish fashion industry adopt in terms of communicating their corporate sustainability and which challenges different types of sustainable fashion companies are facing in terms of communication.

Design/methodology/approach – By way of interviews and secondary data analysis Swedish fashion companies are analyzed and categorized as slow, transitional or fast fashion companies. Categorization is based on extant literature whereby concept, product and production processes are analysed. Each category thus represents a specific type of sustainable fashion company. In addition, each category is analyzed in terms of its main focus when communicating its sustainability efforts and its major challenges.

Findings – The findings showed that the two existing categories, fast and slow fashion, are describing two extreme ways of working with sustainability, not providing room for many of the sustainability efforts that fashion companies are working with today. As a consequence, it can create difficulties for both the company and consumer to position a certain brand in terms of sustainability. The findings showed that this confusing positioning of corporate sustainability can create problems for a company’s marketing communication. It was found that fashion companies within all three categories - fast, transitional and slow fashion – experience more or less difficulties in communication of their corporate sustainability, especially in terms of informing consumers about sustainable production processes and product materials.

Originality/value – The paper contributes to the literature by introducing a new term, transitional fashion, which is necessary in today’s understanding and mapping of the fashion industry. The findings contribute by gaining an understanding of sustainability strategies adopted by the fashion industry of countries belonging to one of the most sustainable countries in the world, Sweden. The findings point out top Swedish fashion companies’ focus and challenges when communicating their sustainability efforts to the market. As such, the findings contribute to the literature of fashion marketing and management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keywords [en]
Transitional fashion, slow fashion, fast fashion, sustainability, communication, Sweden
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-135522OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-135522DiVA, id: diva2:1045901
Conference
5th Global Fashion Conference (GFC), Stockholm, Sweden, October 20-21, 2016
Available from: 2016-11-11 Created: 2016-11-11 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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