Over the past few years, shoppers have made a major shift towards sustainability when it comes to their clothing choices.
Gone is the stigma around shopping secondhand — consignment and thrift stores are having a serious moment right now. And it’s all impart to the growing awareness of the environmental cost of fast fashion.
Now one of the biggest clothing retailers in the world is looking to join the secondhand movement and help lead change.
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In an interview with Reuters, H&M’s head of sustainability Anne Geddes said the company is looking to tackle consumers’ growing concerns about fast fashion’s impact on the environment.
H&M will be launching a pilot for online sales of secondhand apparel on its & Other Stories brand website in Sweden. And if all goes to plan, the company plans to extend the concept to other markets and brands in the following years.
“It comes back to the whole circular vision … it just makes great sense to look into this business,” Geddes told Reuters. “We see this as a growing part of the industry, with great opportunities both for consumers and not least for the environmental impact, and how we can drastically reduce that by extending the life of the products.”
According to a study done by online thrift store ThredUp, the secondhand market is expected to double to $51 billion within 5 years.
While the fast fashion industry hasn’t slowed down, the dangers of the sector are hard for shoppers to ignore.
Not only does fast fashion have a huge impact on the environment — the industry is one of the biggest consumers of water globally and BBC documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets described the industry as one of the world’s most polluting — but there are also issues with who the clothing is made by and where the designs are coming from.
H&M is working towards a more sustainable future.
In recent years, the Swedish brand has made an effort to reduce its ecological footprint. In just one year, H&M was able to increase its use of recycled and sustainably sourced materials to over half of its products — a 35% increase from the year prior. By 2030, H&M plans to only used recycled or sustainably sourced materials.
Additionally, H&M encourages shoppers to recycle their clothing by incentivizing them in-store. For every donation of clothing made to an H&M store, shoppers receive a voucher to shop.
And if all goes well, we may just see a secondhand store from H&M open on our side of the world.
Featured image: Instagram/@hm
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