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Zalando is launching a clothing repair and restoration program.

Online fashion giant Zalando has launched a care and repair program, starting with pilots in Germany this fall. Plans are underway to launch the program in other European markets as well. Sweden and Poland are possible candidates, as customers from those countries are more likely to wear restored clothing, according to a new study from Zalando.

The service offers customers a digital platform where they can make appointments with local tailors for repairs. The program works in collaboration with a London-based startup and the Save Your Wardrobe app, which offers a similar service. For added convenience, items can be shipped and returned to the customer by Zalando's logistics team Zalando. The repair and refurbishment program starts in Berlin this month and will soon be available in Düsseldorf. Other cities will follow in the future.

Sweden and Poland are more likely to wear refurbished clothes

In a survey conducted by Zalando last year, nearly 60 percent of customers said that repairing clothes is important, although less than half of them repair their clothes. The company's new survey surveyed more than five thousand Zalando customers, as well as non-Zalando customers, from five European countries: Germany, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands and France.

More than 60 percent of customers in Sweden wear refurbished clothing.

Sweden is the leader in Europe when it comes to service, with more than 60 percent of people wearing clothes restored on their own or in a specialized atelier, Poland coming in second. In the Netherlands, Germany and France, nearly half of customers wear refurbished clothes.

While customers in Sweden like to repair the damage themselves (almost 30 percent), other European shoppers seek outside help. Polish respondents are more likely to go to friends and relatives, while Dutch customers are more likely to visit a professional repair shop.

Closer communication with customers

"While it is clear that there is a growing desire in all markets to use mending and proper maintenance as a way to extend the life of closet items, there are also barriers in knowledge and accessibility that still create a gap between attitudes toward clothing and habits," Zalando says of the results.

The care and repair program wants to bridge that gap, as well as connect more closely with customers: "We aim to be the starting point for fashion, with projects like this we take this relationship a step further to help our customers take care of their belongings so that their favorite items can remain closet staples for as long as possible," the company says in a press release.

Sustainability efforts

The program is part of Zalando's broader sustainability campaign, which aims to extend the life of at least 50 million items by 2023. In the same spirit, the leading fashion platform launched a pre-owned category on its Web site last year. Since then, the range has grown from 20,000 to 200,000 items, the company told Reuters.

Zalando wants to extend the life of at least 50 million items by 2023.

In addition, Zalando will disclose more information about the materials of its products. Together with H&M Group, the company recently invested in Infinited Fiber, a Finnish manufacturer of biodegradable fiber from textile waste.

Revenue rose 20 percent despite the lockdown.

Despite the negative impact on the fashion market due to the pandemic, Zalando's net income nearly doubled to 226 million euros in 2020. Their revenue rose about 20 percent to 1.8 billion euros in the third quarter. According to the company, the growth was due to increased online spending during the pandemic.

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