Marks & Spencer to launch clothing repairs service

Marks & Spencer is introducing a new service for clothing repairs and alterations. Starting in August, customers can book through a specialized online platform and receive their repaired items within seven to ten days. The service will be handled by Sojo, a start-up inspired by the Deliveroo model, and its in-house team of tailors, with prices beginning at £5.

This initiative is part of a broader effort by retailers to promote sustainable habits among consumers. Sojo, founded during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, aims to popularize the repair of clothing instead of replacement. M&S’s collaboration with Sojo is designed to help customers extend the lifespan of their garments.

Richard Price, managing director of clothing & home at Marks & Spencer, stated, “With our repair service launch, we’re making it easier for customers to give their clothes another life, whether through our new repair service or our long-standing recycling scheme.” Josephine Philips, founder and CEO of Sojo, described the partnership as “an incredibly big step” towards making clothes repairs more accessible.

Siobhan Gehin, a retail expert at consulting firm Roland Berger, told the media that partnerships with independent repair firms allow large brands to offer convenient alterations without needing to develop the infrastructure themselves. M&S is not the only retailer embracing repair services for sustainability.

In January, Sojo set up a permanent location in Selfridges on London’s Oxford Street, providing clothing repair services. Selfridges also offers handbag and trainer restoration services. Uniqlo, a Japanese fashion retailer, offers clothing repairs and additional services like embroidery at six UK stores. John Lewis integrates fashion rental and recycling into its sustainability strategy, alongside reselling pre-owned electronics and furniture. Primark and H&M provide online guides for clothing repairs and have hosted free repair workshops since 2022.

In 2023, France launched a scheme encouraging clothing repairs with discounts of €6 to €25 on individual repairs. M&S research shows only 10% of the UK population feels confident enough to repair clothes themselves. However, beyond meeting consumer demand for sustainability, retailers might also be preparing for potential regulatory pressures to act sustainably.

The fashion industry is under increasing scrutiny for its environmental impact. Earlier this year, Asos, Boohoo, and George committed to making their environmental claims more transparent and accurate, addressing concerns about greenwashing in the sector.

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