The British department store chain Selfridges has ambitious plans and wants to revolutionize the retail trade with its "Project Earth" concept.

Project Earth can be seen as Selfridges' commitment to sustainability for the future. The new approach is based on three main areas: materials, models and mindsets. By 2025, the retailer aims to only use materials that will come from certified, sustainable sources.  The project includes a variety of retail concepts, design innovations, commitments, events and thought-provoking ideas–all aimed at radically changing the retail industry from the ground up.

Selfridges Project Earth window
Photo: Selfridges
Selfridges Project Earth window
Anne Pitcher, Selfridges group managing director, says, “We firmly believe evolving the way we do business and supporting change in the way people shop is essential to building a more sustainable business. Selfridges has the platform to change how shopping is done wrapped up in the destinations, experiences and inspiration customers want from us.”


An important aspect for the company is the creation of a virtuous circle so that consumed products do not become disposable. Selfridges offers customers the opportunity to refill their favorite cosmetic products, rent an outfit for a special occasion or have certain items repaired.

Plastic conscious beauty for Selfridges Project Earth
Photo: Selfridges
Plastic conscious beauty for Selfridges Project Earth
Together with HURR, an online luxury fashion rental platform, Selfridges enables its customers to consume the latest fashion trends at any time while at the same time making consumption sustainable.

The stock of Selfridges will soon be available via HURR. The 100-piece curated selection called Selfridges Rental Collection is selected by the Selfridges team and includes more than 40 brands, including Zimmermann, The Attico and Cecilie Bahnsen. Each rental is priced at a fraction of the value for money of its designer and is available for 4, 8, 10 or 20 days. It is the first time that Selfridges has launched its own fashion rental collection.

Victoria Prew, co-founder of HURR, says, "Extending the lifespan of clothes that already exist is one of the best things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe. We want to help women monetize their wardrobes, and to revolutionize the rental process altogether. Not only do we want to extend the life-cycle of luxury pieces, but also to integrate leading technology into the HURR experience.”

The new business models also include refilling and renting items through ReSellfridges' resale model, due to be launched in September at two Selfridge London stores and also at a pop-up arriving at the Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square store. The Resellfridges edition includes popular pieces from the Selfridges archive and collections curated by vintage connoisseurs, such as the Vestiaire Collective, which opened its first physical space in Selfridges London in 2019 and has since demonstrated a new, sustainable way of shopping for any item.

The Repairs Concierge at Selfridges London helps to give products a second life. The consultations take place either in-store or virtually online.

The Repairs Concierge service
Photo: Selfridges
The Repairs Concierge service
The company also wants to work with its brand partners to better identify the materials used in products and to focus on more sustainable materials. Prada, for example, will launch its sustainable Re-Nylon collection in the Corner Shop at Selfridges London. But also brands such as Christopher Raeburn, By Walid and Stella McCartney will introduce their sustainable product innovations and collections to shoppers.
Selfridges Project Earth window
Photo: Selfridges
Selfridges Project Earth window
In an interview with broadcaster and diversity campaigner June Sarpong, Alannah Weston, Selfridges group chairman, said that the idea for Project Earth can be traced back to Project Ocean, which was launched in 2011 by Selfridges. Project Earth was originally scheduled to start in April, but has been delayed until now due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it is said that the time is even more right to take action. “Now more than ever we must double down on our efforts to reinvent retail with sustainability at its heart and a way of working which is regenerative for humans and nature. Achieving our ambitions won’t be easy, but we are in a unique position to be able to work with our team members, partners and customers to co-create change and explore possibilities for a sustainable future”, says Weston.



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