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October 25, 2022

Growing concerns over pre-owned fashion trend amid launch of Zara’s new platform

As Inditex's fashion brand, Zara, launches its first pre-owned fashion platform, a strategist tells Just Style the growing trend is creating challenges for the fashion industry.

By Shemona Safaya

The Zara Pre-Owned integrated platform, which focuses on repair, resale and donation will be available in Zara stores, online and via a mobile app from 3 November.

The aim is to tap into circularity and improve the brand’s sustainability credentials by giving its customers the change to dispose of used clothing more sustainably and help to reduce waste and the consumption of new raw materials.

However, Siobhan Gehin, senior partner at Roland Berger Global Strategists told Just Style it means even more issues for businesses as they look to extend the life of fashion items.

She lists three key reasons why the growing trend is creating challenges for the fashion industry:

  • Operational costs: Despite the clear environmental case, many retailers may find it challenging to make circular business models financially viable, especially in economic downturns when consumers are tightening their spending. The operational processes involved, such as cleaning, sanitising and logistics, are complex and can be costly, especially for low-margin, mass market, items.
  • The consumer’s perception of pre-loved goods: Though improving, many shoppers are reluctant to buy pre-loved goods due to concerns about hygiene; which makes raising consumer awareness and providing reassurance about cleaning processes critical.
  • Increasing the number of “wears”: The number of wears per garment in its lifecycle is a critical metric for sustainable fashion and new circular models help to drive up the number of wears, thus impacting sales of “new” items.

Inditex, which owns Spanish fashion brand Zara sees the new Pre-Owned platform as being yet another action taken as a part of its approach to sustainability. Inditex said: “It is emblematic of its commitment to moving towards a circular economy model that encompasses all phases of its activity – from product design to the management of its stores, as well as manufacturing, logistics and the company’s offices.”

The Zara Pre-Owned platform will offer the following services for customers:

  • Repair: Customers will be able to request repairs on any used Zara garments from any season. The services offered will include a wide range of repair options, ranging from the replacement of buttons and zippers to repairing seams. The customer can carry out the process entirely online or at a Zara store of their choosing.
  • Resale: Customers can resell their Zara items through a secure platform. In this customer-to-customer process, individuals can resell or buy any Zara garment from any collection, with Zara providing reliable technological and customer service. The resale space will be organised by product categories with detailed information for each item including current images provided by the seller and original product information provided by Zara.
  • Donation: Customers will be able to request that used clothing is collected from their home for donation. Similar to already-available donation containers in all Zara stores across the UK. Online donations of garments will go to the Red Cross, an organisation that gives products a new life by reusing or recycling them in support of the development of projects in local communities. This service is for clothing from any brand.

Earlier this year, Zara collaborated with Ananas Anam on a new collection of sneakers, sandals and accessories made using pineapple-based material Pinatex as an alternative to leather.

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