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“Sustainability in fashion retail is quickly becoming a top priority”

Karen Hewitt, co-founder and buying director of Character.com, explains why the power lies with the consumer and what they demand to shape how fashion retail moves forward.

Why does the fashion industry have to step up and become more sustainable?

Sustainability in fashion retail is quickly becoming one of the industry’s top priorities. Whilst there will be key areas such as sustainable materials and practices there will be lots of small changes over time that fashion retail will need to implement.

The power will ultimately lie with the consumer and what they demand to shape how fashion retail moves forward. Bigger initiatives that fashion retailers will need to address is how to build into their strategies options for recycling clothing and reducing the options of fast fashion.

What is Character.com doing in this area?

We are working every day on our sustainability journey at character.com and trying to implement meaningful changes one step at a time. So far, we have changed our packaging so we are not using virgin plastic and have stripped back the insert cards we use to reduce the cardboard use.

Going forward, Character.com will look to increase the amount of BCI and organic cotton we use on all of our products during 2022. We are also working with a few licensors on ranges that will carry an educational message for both adults and children and use our social media channels to highlight the messages.

Can you share more on how you’re helping kids in need through your work with the women’s hostel?

We are working with a charity, which addresses UK clothing poverty to send all of our customer returns, expired samples and discontinued stock and hope to send our first shipment in the next few weeks. We also work with a local woman’s refuge to supply clothes for their children when they have to leave home, often with no belongings.

Another organisation we are looking to work with is a local foster care agency – often foster children move from place to place with nothing but a black bin bag to store their belongings, so given we supply a large range of children’s backpacks, we are looking to support with an overnight bag for these children.

Karen will be taking part in a panel discussion on Sustainability in Fashion Retail at the Sustainability in Licensing Conference, which is taking place virtually on 24-25 June. She will be joined by Melanie Wilson and Jade Snart from Asda, Julia Redman from BuyersEye and Ryan Jesse from Change Plastic for Good.

Tickets for SILC21 cost £100 (+VAT) and there is a 20% discount for Products of Change members. Delegates will also be able to access content on-demand for 30 days after the event. Click here for full details.

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