Fashion Friday: H&M and Zalando thinking green; Bakala bust

Robert McLean

#cee, #proptech, #development a #architecture

Here’s a cool concept: The Czech company OPT OnDemand has used growing environmental demands by consumers to carve out a place for itself in the global fashion industry. Hospodářské noviny writes that the company is working with H&M to allow European consumers to have specific pictures or designs printed on blank shirts. Under the usual system, H&M guesses which motifs will prove popular, but inevitably it sells out of some of them (missing out on potential profits) and can’t sell thousands of others. Those it can’t get rid of in outlets get burned. Add to all this waste the thousands of kilometers those shirts travel just to get to the stores and you begin to see how huge the fashion industry’s carbon footprint really is. OPT’s director Ondřej Parpel says retailers have bottom line concerns as well: “The extreme rise in transportation costs are playing a role as well. Just a few months ago, a single container cost $2,500 to send, now it’s $10,000. Big firms including H&M have begun to understand that they have to change their supply chain.” OPT OnDemand’s location near Usti nad Labem means its twice-daily shipments to a DHL logistics center in Dresden quickly.

Meanwhile, Zalando celebrated Earth Day in the Czech Republic yesterday by launching a new category of clothes: Pre-owned. It allows customers to sell items of clothing they no longer plan to wear or to buy second-hand items. “Or customers claim that sustainability is important to them but they have a hard time realizing their values and priorities through online and offline sales,” Kate Heinyova, Director of Sustainability for Zalando. She told that the only way forward was for stores, brands and customers to work together.

In less enlightening retail news, Zdeněk Balaka’s company Luxury Brand Management has been granted protection from its creditors by a court in Prague. It successfully defended its request for a three-month moratorium on its debts on the basis of pandemic measures taken by the government. “The sale of luxury goods, which LBM specializes in, is not possible in practice without direct contact with customers. Stores haven’t been operating for four months, the company has practically no income and we don’t know when this will change,” said the company’s boss Zuzana Řezníčková, according to the daily E15. This matters because the company represents brands in Prague such as Versace and Bottega Veneta. E15 writes that the company lost CZK 68 million in 2019 and around CZK 94 million in 2018. In 2019, its sales grew from CZK 512 million to CZK 588 million.


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