How is slow fashion contributing to the social economy?

Recently I finished an MA in Social Entrepreneurship. To achieve this degree I wrote a dissertation on How is slow fashion contributing to the social economy, using slow fashion scene in Barcelona as a case study? I truly believe that knowledge is no worthy at all when it is not shared. So, here it is. I’m posting it here hoping it will be useful to spread the word and learn more about slow fashion and social economy, and how they support each other. I’ll post here the original abstract and at the end you can download the dissertation. Once again, I hope it is useful to inspire startups, more research, more conscience around the topic, and -why not- I would certainly not refuse a trip to Barcelona to talk and learn about this.

Please, feel free to send comments, any doubts or just please start a discussion about the topic. I’ll be pleased to talk and learn more about you.


This dissertation aims to answer how slow fashion contributes to social economy. To address it, first a literature review of both slow fashion and social economy is done, and then the slow fashion scene in Barcelona is used as a case study to discuss the topic and to find relevant recommendations. Slow fashion is an alternative that goes beyond sustainable fashion to propose a different business model which controls the supply chain (Brooks, 2015; Styles, 2014), boosts ethical practices and process (Styles, 2014), promotes timeless and high quality products (Black, 2008), and proposes a new economic model that aims equality and sustainability (Clark, 2008; Fletcher, 2014). Social economy enhances a new perspective aiming to solve social and environmental needs prior to profit maximization (Amin, 2009). Although definitions and concepts will depend on local contexts (Nicholls, 2006; Mendell, 2009), social economy organisations are commonly identified for being done by people and civil organisations (Amin, 2009; Tomás, 1997) and looking for the triple-bottom line generating value for the people, environment and economy (Pearce, 2009). This dissertation directly joins slow fashion and social economy, concluding slow fashion contributes to the social economy through the local approach, the reinforcement of local culture, the creation of social capital, the support of social economy’s organisations such as non-profit and cooperatives, enhancing an alternative more diverse and inclusive system where the people have a main role, and are working for social and environmental aims. Nevertheless, the interviewed slow fashion brands in the practice barely consider themselves as part of the social economy mainly because they are for-profit.  Among other conclusions it is explained that slow fashion is not an objective but a mean, it is recommended for the sector in Barcelona policy development to enhance the infrastructure for cooperation and growth, it is proposed a new supply chain model for slow fashion where the designers are in the centre and the suppliers work around them with more mutual relations, and finally aesthetics is presented as a crucial element in slow fashion which is recommended to be considered as the fourth bottom line feature in the sector. Moreover, it is recommended a more detailed research on marketing, pricing, the role of academy, and local consumption for slow fashion.


KEY WORDS: Slow Fashion, Sustainable Fashion, Social Economy, Local Economy, Barcelona.

Download the dissertation in this link: How is slow fashion contributing to the social economy, using slow fashion scene in Barcelona as a case study?

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