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Sakshi Sharma

Education: 2009 – 2013 Knitwear Design (B.Des) National Institute of Fashion Technology Bangalore
Year joined:
Jun 2013 to Sep 2015 as R&D Trainee
Nov 2017 after obtaining a master’s degree
Present role:
Research and Development Specialist
Bangalore, India

What do you do at H&M?
All garments are made up of different kinds of elements. In H&M language, we call these elements components. In my role, I take care of the garments at a component level, which can be fabric, details, or any kind of design elements in terms of fabric or prototype, but more on a research and development level. Anything where research and development is required in terms of a trim, smocking detail or maybe coming up with a design detail, I work on and take care of these components for H&M’s Youth Divided Collection in India.

Lastly, I collaborate with our merchandisers in terms of their requirements. If they need any components, a sustainable fabric for example, I will start a sustainable fabric project with the suppliers to secure it. You can say that I'm closing the loop between H&M’s global office with my local office and our suppliers.

Why did you come back to H&M after you left?
I left H&M in 2015 as an R&D trainee because this was the first company where I started my career. And after some years, I felt like I needed to pick up more knowledge so I wanted to go and get my master's degree. My interest with H&M was always there. It’s a workplace where you have work-life balance and you get to work on different kinds of projects where you can learn a lot from collaborating with many different functions. You're not working in silos and that is what has always kept me connected to H&M. I was contacted by HR after I completed my master's degree. I came back because it was for this position handling both jersey and woven materials. I was happy to join.

How do you grow at H&M?
In terms of training in the office, the most recent example I can remember off the top of my head is a really useful ‘Gallup Strength’ workshop. It was an excellent way to discover my top strengths and how to utilise them to excel in my career.

Other kinds of workshops include investment ones where we learn how to make better investments and savings; internal workshops to give and receive constructive feedback and build trust and relationships with stakeholders. They’re all really interesting and I would say they’re definitely great opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

What’s more, I get a lot of personal space for creative thinking and decision-making. The best thing I like about the working culture is that you're given ownership of the projects you handle. You can go up to the senior management at any time and say that you feel there is a need for change and this would be more productive for the business. Your ideas are always encouraged and they appreciate you for bringing in new ideas or effective methods of working.

What are you most proud of working at H&M?
I love being related to a brand who is conscious about their sustainable methods. With an aim to source 100% sustainable cotton, recycled or other sustainably sourced materials, H&M’s ultimate goal is to have a climate positive value chain by 2040. It’s a big task, but as long as we’re constantly moving in the right direction, it’s not impossible.

I really feel proud about the fact that our suppliers are selected based on their sustainable methods. Suppliers who do not comply to our sustainable methods cannot work with H&M. At the moment, we are focusing a lot on organic cotton and recycled polyester, and we are also collaborating with different organisations, like WWF.

H&M is also highlighting these goals in every workshop or whenever we have bigger meetings. It constantly reminds me about the importance of being a sustainable company and how we can help the environment by reducing our carbon footprint. We are already doing everyday things, like employees selling things to raise money for charity and keeping a check on our stationery and recycling paper with a waste management approach.

What is more interesting, I want to pursue my future journey with H&M so I can understand more about the fashion industry at a global level. That is one of the future dreams I have.