H&M sees the future of apparel as circular as they dip their toes in the resale market. At this point, it is projected to jump to “$51 billion in the next five years, according to Sourcing Journal Online.” The boom in this sector is attributed to consumers, especially younger ones’, “desire for variety, sustainability, and affordability,” according to The McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2019 Report. Ironically, fast fashion is the antithesis of this new ownership model.
Disrupting fast fashion
H&M is now looking to “disrupt the cycle of making, using, and disposing [of], that has made it so successful, according to Sourcing Journal Online. Now, they’re only in the testing stages in Sweden but hope that it will transition to other markets soon. The development team is collaborating with Sellpy, a local resale website to create the platform for H&M and Other Stories, a brand under the H&M Group.
Anna Gedda, the head of sustainability, shared her views on this venture. She stated, “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.”
The Mckinsey report found that “the average person buys 60 percent more items of clothing than they did 15 years ago. However, consumers keep that clothing for only half as long as they used to.” It continues that “one in three young women consider clothes ‘old’ after wearing them once or twice.” Moreso, “one in seven consider it a fashion faux pas to be photographed in an outfit twice.” These mindsets sound bleak for the resale market. At the same time, this same cohort expresses a social consciousness and concern for fast fashion’s impact on the environment.
Fast fashion isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Although, it looks as if resale can satisfy those same needs for newness and value while accommodating the switch towards more conscious consumerism. After all, pre-worn Items sell at a fraction of the price, allows clothing to be worn once and swapped, and reduces waste.
H&M is working further to “close the loop” by launching its Conscious Collection using more organic cotton. Also, their recycling program allows shoppers to bring in clothing and textiles for a coupon for 20% off their next purchase. In all, H&M is a purveyor of fast fashion, but also the venture of established brands entering the resale market and making sustainability a part of their DNA.