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Zalando trials repair service to extend life of fashion

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German online fashion retailer Zalando announced plans on Tuesday to trial a repair service for customers in Berlin and Duesseldorf as part of a wider push to promote more sustainable practices in the industry.

Zalando is teaming up with British start-up Save Your Wardrobe to help its customers make appointments online with local companies that offer specialist repair or cleaning for garments and shoes.

"Many customers throw clothes away too early. We want to change that," Laura Coppen, who leads efforts at Zalando to promote the recycling and reuse of materials, told Reuters.

Europe's biggest online-only fashion retailer also set a target of extending the life of at least 50 million fashion articles by 2023 to motivate its customers to change their shop-wear-discard habits.

It wants a quarter of its gross merchandise volume - sales on its site made by the company or its partners - to come from more sustainable products by 2023, up from about 16% in 2020.

"Half of our customers bought at least one item from our sustainability range in the past year," said Coppen.

To support more recycling, Zalando is offering more information about the materials used in its products as well as the exact supplier and the energy consumed during production.

Zalando recently acquired a stake in the Finnish startup Infinited Fiber, which produces a biodegradable fibre from textile waste.

Since September last year, Zalando customers have also been able to buy and sell second-hand fashion via the platform, with the range growing to 200,000 items, said Coppen. It is now available in 13 out of 23 European markets.

(Reporting by Nadine Schimroszik; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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