Repair becoming feature of retail landscape.
Uniqlo has announced the roll-out of more of its repair-focused shop-in-shops around the globe after a flurry of openings in March in the US that follow the model refined in Berlin and London flagship outlets. This move comes alongside a raft of similar activity by a growing number of other major fashion operators including Zara, Primark and Yoox Net-A-Porter.
There are now approaching 20 Re:Uniqlo Studios that enable customers to have their products mended, which follows the long-standing free alterations service that the company has offered. The plan is to open further units as the company pushes its environmental credentials and highlights the longevity of its clothing.
Jean-Emmanuel Shein, global director of sustainability at Uniqlo, says: “Now, as opposed to this being a behind-the-scenes-only service, the Re:Uniqlo Studios give it a presence on the sales floor, properly branded and with trained employees. We’ve invested a lot of time and money on training…and in special equipment for repairs.”
At Yoox Net-A-Porter the company launched its first dedicated care and repair service in partnership with specialist repairs and alterations provider The Seam. The ‘Repair & Rewear’ service is initially available in the UK for its womenswear offer and is to shortly be extended to its menswear propositions Mr Porter and The Outnet.
Customers can book on the relevant websites and the work will be completed within seven to 10 days with the objective of making the products bought from the company last longer. This move comes alongside Yoox Net-A-Porter making a first foray into the resale market.
Repair and resale is also on the agenda of Zara, which launched these dual-propositions in the UK in November and are available via its website and app. The service is not initially expected to be profitable, with Paula Ampuero, head of sustainability at Zara, stating: “At this stage the platform is exclusively conceived as a tool to help customers extend the lifetime of their clothing and take a more circular approach.”
Meanwhile, Primark has been operating a 12-month trial of over 40 repair workshops across the UK and Republic of Ireland and the plan is to scale up these free clothing repair workshops across Europe, as well as launch a new online hub for providing customers with tutorials on undertaking repairs such as sewing on buttons and zips.
Such activities from the major fashion brands across Europe and beyond suggests repairs are going to become an increasingly important feature of the clothing and fashion landscape.