Samantha Dover
Samantha Dover is a Senior Retail Analyst at Mintel, identifying and analysing emerging retail trends and writing in-depth market research reports in multiple retail sectors.

As part of H&M’s wider sustainability efforts, the retailer is trialling a new initiative in Germany that aims to educate consumers on how to take better care of their fashion purchases. Not only has the retailer launched a new range of branded laundry products, but visitors to H&M’s Hamburg store can also now get their clothes fixed by in-store seamstresses. The Take Care initiative also has an online presence that provides clothing care advice and information, such as how to remove stains or reattach buttons. Coinciding with the launch, H&M hosted a series of free workshops in partnership with a number of local influencers to raise awareness of the project. If the initial trial in Germany is successful, the project may be rolled out to other regions.

Credit: Fashion Network

Increasing pressure on fashion retailers

Mintel’s consumer research indicates that there will be increasing pressure for fashion retailers to behave more sustainably in future. More than half of clothing consumers in the UK think fashion retailers should be more environmentally friendly, and this figure rises significantly amongst young people, rising to as many as 76% of young women aged 16-24.

However, historically the onus has been left with retailers to make changes, whilst consumers have remained reluctant to change their own shopping habits based on environmental or ethical issues. What is interesting about the H&M Take Care initiative is that it puts more control in the hands of consumers, encouraging them to prolong the life of clothing as opposed to frequently replacing items. This could be a successful strategy given that half of consumers think it can be hard to find quality clothing that lasts a long time.