"With fashion trends changing at the drop of a hat, consumers throw away nearly 83 percent of their clothes and shoes into garbage bins every year. Some brands also burn their unsold stock to protect their exclusivity. A glaring instance of this is Burberry which destroyed $36 million worth of unsold clothes/accessories in 2017."
With fashion trends changing at the drop of a hat, consumers throw away nearly 83 percent of their clothes and shoes into garbage bins every year. Some brands also burn their unsold stock to protect their exclusivity. A glaring instance of this is Burberry which destroyed $36 million worth of unsold clothes/accessories in 2017.
However, a new reuse and re-wear revolution is emerging on new platforms that are upcycling discarded garments into new clothes. Eileen Fisher launched a new recycling program Renew which recycles old garments to be sold at either stores or pop-up shops. Similarly, another brand Reformation transforms old materials and vintage clothing into new feminine creations while Cambodian brand tonlé uses surplus fabric from mass clothing makers and turns it into zero-waste collections, or Queen of Raw, which connects designers and textile firms with dead stock fabrics from factories/brands.
Alongwith these, several subscription-based brands are emerging which allow people return worn clothes for new ones: For Days buys back worn T-shirts from customers to recycle them into new tees. In 2018, wellness hotel brand Westin launched a new initiative to recycle the sheets/towels from its global hotels into pajamas for children in homeless shelters.
Reward for customers returning old clothes
Many brands are also reward their customers to return their unwanted clothes for recycling. Guess recently launched a new scheme with I-Collect that offers customers a 15 per cent discount on new clothes to customers who return five clothing items. Similarly, J. Crew partnered Blue Jeans Go Green to recycle old denim to build housing for communities in need. Sweden-based Nudie Jeans offers a discount to customers who return their old jeans. The brand also provides these customers free repairs for life.
Rental fashion gains momentum
Increasing number of online resale shops allows the new generation of customers to avail luxury fashion at affordable rates. Many websites like eBay, of course, and RealReal, Poshmark, Vestiaire Collective, Vinted and thredUP also sell high-end clothes at cheaper rates. Some of these platforms have also launched innovative concepts to sell clothes. For instance, thredUP has launched a new collection concept, Remade, where the brand researches on what exactly resells to create an affordable collection designed to be resold. Each item on this website is sold with a buyback promise, ensuring it will be resold on thredUP, with sellers earning 40 percent of the original value.
Another fast emerging trend is that of rental clothing. Several platforms allow their customers to rent their wardrobes. The goliath in this space is Rent the Runway, which rents its designer dresses and accessories for special events through a monthly unlimited membership service. Members can rent four items at a time and rotate them in and out as fast as they want. The platform has also partnered with WeWork for installing drop-off boxes at the co-working spaces that allow its members to rent their wardrobe via tablet.
The rent-not-own fashion model liberates its customers from the time and energy eaten up by shopping while freeing up space in its closets. In future, people will stop buying new clothes and shoes and re-wearing and renting will get cooler.