Oct 5, 2021
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Zalando boosts circular strategy with focus on repairs

Oct 5, 2021

Zalando on Tuesday became the latest fashion e-tail giant to unveil an upgraded commitment to circularity with new business practices designed to embed it “along the full product lifecycle, from developing design standards to investing in new recycling technologies”.


As part of this, it’s piloting repair services in its home town and scaling its “redeZIGN for circularity” collection with QR code digital product passports.

Starting next week, it will pilot care and repair services “in order to engage with customers post-purchase and support extending the life of customers' products”.

In this, it’s linking up with London-based start-up and retail app Save Your Wardrobe to offer “quality care and repair services for garments and shoes through selected local studios and tailors to Berlin-based customers via a digitally-enabled platform”. Pick up and return of repaired items will be handled by Zalando Premium Logistics. This service will be rolled out to Düsseldorf shortly after and “prospectively scaled to more markets”.

The company said its goal is to “drive behaviour change and reach Zalando’s target to apply the principles of circularity and extend the life of at least 50 million fashion items by 2023”.

The Germany-based firm is boosting its do.MORE sustainability strategy that has also seen it constantly scaling its pre-owned offering, and developing an open-source platform for textile waste management as part of the Sorting For Circularity Project with Fashion for Good.

“To reduce its negative impact on people and the planet the fashion industry needs to move towards a circular system,” Laura Coppen, Head of Circularity at the firm. “we see this shift as a unique opportunity to lead the redesign of the fashion industry, open up new revenue streams and capitalise on seismic shifts in consumer behaviour which are already under way”.

In fact, according to the retailer’s Attitude-Behavior Gap report, over 60% of consumers “believe it is important that their clothes get a new lease of life rather than heading to landfill. Our aim is to drive behaviour change towards circular products and experiences. We don't have all the answers yet but we are collaborating with key industry changemakers testing and scaling new solutions in order to transition to a fully circular business.”

At the design stage, Zalando is working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Berlin-based start-up circular.fashion to define industry-wide circular product criteria and upskill its private label teams on circular design. 

And it said that “to enable informed circular choices Zalando scales the redeZIGN for circularity capsule collection from its private label ZIGN. All 50 collection items in men’s and women’s textiles, shoes, and accessories include a digital product passport. Via a QR code in the label, customers can go to a product site to learn where the product was produced, how to care for it, repair it and how to trade it into Zalando”.

The assortment of 50 products includes men’s and women’s textiles, shoes, and accessories available in all 23 Zalando markets.

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