Title: David and Goliath in sustainable fashion: strategic business alliances in the UK fashion industry

Authors: Ishwari Thopte; Kim Poldner

Addresses: Centre for Fashion Enterprise, London College of Fashion, 182 Mare Street, London E8 3RE, UK ' University of Applied Sciences and Arts Lucerne, Competence Center Textiles, Sentimatt 1/Dammstrasse, 6003 Lucerne, Switzerland

Abstract: This paper analyses the different types of strategic alliances currently present in the UK sustainable fashion industry. According to Ethical Corporation Magazine (2006), multinationals use three methods to move into the ethical sector: a) launching new ethical products; b) buying or taking over ethical brands; c) by forming strategic alliances with sustainable fashion small to medium enterprises (SMEs). This study aims to fill a void in the literature by focusing on strategic alliances and the motivations behind forming these alliances. Through a mixed method approach, we take a closer look although the small entrepreneurial 'David's' and established multinational 'Goliaths' in the UK fashion industry interact and develop new 'ethical' collections, campaigns and brands. Our theoretical model proposes significance between the following variables; age, target market and motivations of the type of alliance formed. This model is useful for managers to determine the type of alliance they need in order to fulfil their requirements from an alliance.

Keywords: strategic alliances; sustainable fashion; mixed methods; small and medium-sized enterprises; fashion SMEs; multinationals; MNCs; multinational corporations; UK; United Kingdom; sustainablility; entrepreneurship; ethics; ethical collections; ethical campaigns; ethical brands; age; target markets; motivation; fashion industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSBA.2014.062337

International Journal of Strategic Business Alliances, 2014 Vol.3 No.2/3, pp.179 - 200

Received: 11 Jul 2013
Accepted: 23 Oct 2013

Published online: 04 Jun 2014 *

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