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H&M ensures first impressions count, Lululemon launches a trade-in programme for unwanted athleisure, and young Britons get the home improvement bug.

H&M’s free suit rental boosts job prospects

One/Second/Suit by H&M

Global – Fashion retailer H&M is launching a free suit rental model to bolster people’s prospects at job interviews.

Recognising that it takes just one second for a potential employer to assess a job candidate, the One/Second/Suit scheme allows people to rent an H&M Man suit free for 24 hours. In this way, H&M hopes to boost applicants’ confidence by helping them to make a positive first impression.

Launching in the UK in April and the US in May, the scheme is supported by a campaign film shot by director Mark Romanek that captures the nerves people feel before interviews and the small gestures that bring reassurance. ‘Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, but we believe nothing should hold you back, least of all what you wear,' explains Sara Spännar, head of marketing and communications at H&M. 'The One/Second/Suit is ready-to-wear confidence.'

As a global company with local reach, H&M is taking the role of a Civic Brand by offering beneficial Fast Fashion Rental to consumers without the need to make a purchase.

Elevating gum from streets to skateboard wheels

Chewing Gum Wheels by Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer, France Chewing Gum Wheels by Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer, France
Chewing Gum Wheels by Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer, France Chewing Gum Wheels by Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer, France

France – Two students are proposing a future in which chewing gum is given a new lease of life – and our city streets are tidier – by turning the sticky stuff into skateboard wheels.

Design students Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer of L'École de Design Nantes Atlantique put forward the idea as an imagined partnership between skate brand Vans and gum company Mentos. The duo propose collecting chewing gum through gum boards affixed to lampposts, after which the gum would be cleaned and mixed with a secret ingredient to stabilise it. After being stained with natural dye to form the base of the wheels, they suggest the material is machined into skateboard wheels and stamped with the brands' logos.

‘Our initiative is supposed to clean the streets in a sustainable way,’ reads a statement from the designers. ‘We invented a system that will transform used wheels and turn them into new ones. No more waste is created, and the material stays in use.'

In a similar vein, circular economy company Pentatonic last year introduced The Pebble, a re-usable cutlery and dining set made from recycled CDs.

Lululemon’s trade-in scheme for Like New athleisure

Vancouver – Athleisure brand Lululemon has created a re-commerce programme allowing customers to trade in and resell its products to boost circularity.

Created to allow people to ‘rethink, revive and rediscover Lululemon’, the Like New scheme will launch with a trade-in programme for gently used brand products in the US states of California and Texas, before rolling out a resale programme in June this year. Through Like New, Lululemon will directly re-invest profits to support additional sustainability initiatives, including circular product design, renew and recycle programmes, and store environmental programmes.

To ensure traded in items are eligible, the brand is working with re-commerce experts at Trove to offer support with resale technology and operations. Items that do not meet quality standards will be recycled through Lululemon’s long-standing partnership with Debrand.

Through this scheme, the company is demonstrating Second-hand Brands in action, taking back control of pre-owned stock while launching a platform where its community can engage with pre-owned products.

 Like New by Lululemon, US Like New by Lululemon, US

Stat: Young people get hooked on home decor

Net-A-Porter Lifestyle Edit Net-A-Porter Lifestyle Edit

New research from Mintel reveals that young people are driving growth in the UK’s home improvement market.

According to the market research company, spending on the home in the UK is forecast to increase by 5.3% to reach £70.6bn ($98.2bn, €81.2bn) in 2021. Over a third (34%) of British consumers expect to increase spending in 2021 as a result of the pandemic, rising to 40% of 16–34-year-olds. Millennials aged 24–39 in particular are indulging in home improvements, with 51% splashing out on decorating.

Marco Amasanti, a retail analyst at Mintel, notes: ‘Given their greater transience, younger consumers, especially first-time home buyers, will spearhead purchasing [in 2021]. Amid ongoing financial pressures, many of these shoppers continue to turn to lower-value sectors, such as decorative accessories and garden products, as a means of personalising their living spaces.’

In our recent Premium Homeware Market, we explored the high-low brand collaborations and luxury ‘objets’ attracting the attention and spending of young people seeking to transform rented or temporary living spaces.

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