Consignment shop

Here’s how fashion can help America recycle textile waste right now – Sourcing Journal

The slogan “reduce, reuse, recyclehas been around for decades. But it’s only more recently that the fashion industry has begun to consider how such actions could improve their sustainability efforts while giving their clothes a second life. American recycling day takes place on November 15 with the aim of raising awareness on how to recycle, reuse materials and reduce landfill waste. Thus, whether reselling second-hand fashion, using dead animals rather than new textiles or recycling existing fibres, there are many options available to the fashion industry.

Take Seven for all mankindwho recently created an online resale store called 7 Alarm Clock which is accessible from the home page of its website. In this online store, customers can buy certified, pre-owned Seven denim with the confidence that comes with buying new from the brand, but at a price that may be more accessible. Seven For All Mankind’s Heather Mee, director of merchandising, recently spoke in New York City at a circular fashion panel hosted by Shopify and moderated by Karin Dillie, Vice President of Partnerships at Recurate, a service that helps brands establish reselling platforms on their own e-commerce sites. Mee said Seven started the resale store for sustainability reasons, but it offered more opportunities from there.

“It creates a new doorway for consumers who want a more affordable option or just want to try the product,” Mee said. “And then for sellers who may have older skinny jeans but want to try new looser fits or boot cuts, they can list their jeans and get new Sevens credit while someone another takes advantage of their used denim.”

Consumers have already shown enthusiasm to buy second-hand clothes. Over the past year, just over half of consumers (57%) have purchased used/second-hand clothing in person at a thrift store, consignment store or garage sale, or online on sites like thredUP, posh markand The real realaccording to Cotton Incorporated lifestyle monitor™Survey. This number rises dramatically to 71% among Gen Z shoppers.

In addition, almost half of all consumers (46%) expect to buy more second-hand clothes in the future, according to the Monitor™ search. This number increases dramatically to 53% among Millennials. Additionally, 74% of consumers are interested in circular fashion as a sustainability initiative, and 76% are interested in recycling clothes.

Mauritius, the women’s fashion retailer, is launching its Fit Freedom Jean Exchange, a program that falls under the “reuse” aspect of recycling. The initiative allows customers to exchange M Jeans by Maurices for a new size free of charge within one year of purchase. The returned jeans are then donated to local organizations to benefit and be reused by needy women in the Mauritius stores’ home towns.

To arrive, a new Los Angeles-based company from Rachelle Snyder, CEO, is a nod to the “fresh” side of recycling. The company breathes new life into clothing returns from retailers. Normally, Snyder says, 80% of retail returns can go back to stock. But 20% are defective, with issues like deodorant marks, embedded perfume odors, or holes. Usually, she says, these items end up in a landfill. But his company refurbishes these garments so that brands can resell them in the resale sections of their websites.

“We’re currently doing that with Eddie Bauer,” she says. “They have a resale site called (Re)Adventure. Eddie Bauer ships all of their non-new returns to us. Arrives then refurbishes them and brings them back to a salable condition. We rate them to say that they are like new, excellent or good. And then we hold the product and fulfill the order when purchased from their resale site.

Like Seven For All Mankind’s resale store, Snyder says the brands she works with use their own photography and images from their product catalog, giving users a “very premium and certified brand experience.” Brands also control prices. These two factors are very different from, say, posh mark, which features photographs and prices set by users. Snyder says brand-owned resale sites offer the ability to control your own brand while solving existing return issues. She adds that if a garment is not salvageable, Arrive will also help brands ship it to channels that make sense, such as a fabric recycling center.

About a third of consumers (34%) say they are interested in clothing recycling programs that recycle old clothes into new clothes, according to Monitor™ search. It should be noted that 34% of shoppers say they are willing to pay more for clothes produced through clothing recycling. Another 32% of consumers say they are more interested in programs that recycle old clothes into new non-clothing products.

Cotton Incorporated created the blue jeans go green™ denim recycling program in 2006 to encourage denim recycling, raise awareness of cotton sustainability and create opportunities to help those in need. The program has collected over 4.2 million pieces of denim, diverting over 2,100 tonnes of textile waste from landfills. The the old denim is then transformed into useful new products such as building insulation, packaging thermal insulation, pet bed inserts, etc.

Finally, the use of unused fabrics contributes to recycling, as it reduces the number of new fabrics to be made while extending the life of existing textiles. Recently, Mangothe Spanish fashion retailer, has partnered with Recovo, a market for unsold fabrics to support the development of more sustainable clothing. The brand Handmade stories uses unsold fabrics for its entire Spring 23 collection. And designer Collina Strada employed unsold overdyed chiffons, velvets and lace in its Spring/Summer 2023 collection.

“I think brands need to be responsible for their product to end-of-life,” Snyder says. “But you can’t expect a brand to do it on its own. You need to give them the tools, the support, and the channels to do that. This is our goal.

The Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ is an ongoing research program that measures consumer attitudes and behaviors around clothing, shopping, fashion, sustainability, and more.

For more information on the Lifestyle Monitor™ survey, please visit