Promoting innovation in the fashion industry to support active ageing: can European independent centres take the leadership?


  • Martha Friel IULM University
  • Paola Borrione Fondazione Santagata per l’Economia della Cultura, Turin, Italy



fashion; textile; active ageing; independent innovation; silver market


Purpose of the paper: Aim of the paper is to identify, at a European level, how many and which are the independent innovation centres working in the field of fashion, their contribution to the sector’s innovation and how they consider the needs of the elderly.

Methodology: The empirical analysis uses a mixed method that combines a desk analysis on the websites of European independent innovation centres and a qualitative survey with open-ended questions.

Findings: The analysis highlights how independent centres active in the field of fashion and textile are involved in multiple activities towards social inclusion but how only a few consider over65 population as a specific target, thus highlighting the potentials of applying to this segment skills and innovations already tested in other social areas.

Research limits: The research only investigates independent innovation centres. Future research developments could usefully examine and integrate on the one hand the perspective of large fashion companies on the other that of business operating in market segments whose products have technical features that could be easily transferred to the silver market.

Practical implications: The study highlights the potential of the silver market for fashion and suggests practical implications for independent innovation centres to encourage greater attention and the development of activities and products specifically dedicated to this target.

Originality of the paper: Despite the relevance of the European over65 market for the fashion industry, so far there has been little interest from literature towards the fashion silver economy both in analysing demand and in the processes of product innovation aimed at satisfying the needs of this specific segment.


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