Fashioning clothing with and for mature women: a small-scale sustainable design business model

Katherine Townsend, Anthony Kent, Ania Sadkowska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
584 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: An ageing population in the developed world has become a significant topic in the contemporary research agenda. The purpose of this paper is to report on the development of a new small-scale business model based on facilitating in-depth understanding and responding to mature female consumers’ needs and expectations towards fashionable clothing. Design/methodology/approach: Two complementary approaches are used: interpretative phenomenological analysis allows the researchers to employ the life-course perspective and to develop in-depth understanding of individuals’ present experiences in relation to their past. Action research offers the possibility to develop participatory, co-design processes based on collective creativity and mutual knowledge exchange between the stakeholders. Findings: The research finds a strong interest in fashionable clothing by women, irrespective of their age. The action-based co-design process involving collaborative encounters with mature consumers creates a dynamic capability for alternative fashion design methodologies. This approach can contribute to a small-scale fashion business model for the mature women’s fashion market. Practical implications: The women in the study stress the need for a more inclusive design process and expressed a willingness to buy from a brand/retailer who would offer them such a collaborative opportunity. There are practical implications for how a more flexible sizing approach to the design of fashion for older women could be implemented. Originality/value: This research makes a contribution to practice-based design solutions for mature women and a new inclusive business model based on emotional durability. The innovative methodological approach contributes to the field of ethical and sustainable fashion design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number1
Early online date11 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

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  • Mature fashion consumer
  • womenswear
  • sustainable fashion
  • action research
  • business model
  • Business model
  • Action research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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