In Uncertain Times, How Resale Platform ThredUp Is Leaning Into Sustainability More Than Ever

Ella Chochrek
·2 mins read

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ThredUp is continuing to stress the importance of sustainability.

The resale platform has partnered with Zero Waste Daniel on ReFashion — a collection made entirely from secondhand garments and fabric scraps.

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According to ThredUp, the collection was inspired by the “newfound thrifter” that emerged during coronavirus pandemic as economic uncertainty caused individuals to slash their discretionary spending. According to the retailer, 88% of consumers adopted a thrifty new hobby during stay-at-home orders that they plan to continue. Further, ThredUp says that 80% of consumers are willing to explore secondhand shopping when money is tight.

Like-new ThredUp items served as a canvas for the ReFashion collection, with unsellable scraps transformed into Monstera-like leaves. The collection includes 200 items, such as hoodies, leggings and sweat shorts, that have been cut sewn by hand by ZWD. ThredUp is donating 100% of proceeds to the Circular Fashion Fund to support sustainable fashion enterprises and will also donate $1 to the organization for every public social media share @thredup with the #thriftmoretossless.

While traditional retailers were challenged by store closures this spring, e-commerce experienced rapid growth during the pandemic, with ThredUp recording a record-breaking number of new visitors in May. The re-commerce site also reported a 6.5 times increase in the number of donation clean-out kits ordered in April compared with prior months. What’s more, ThredUp projects that the online secondhand market will grow 69% between 2019 and 2021 — while the broader retail sector will shrink 15% over the same period. Worth an estimated $28 billion in 2019, the resale market is expected to grow to $64 billion in the next five years, as ThredUp continues to see gains along with other disruptors such as Depop and The RealReal.

While the ReFashion launch is the first collection for ThredUp using reusable scraps, the company has long been vocal about the environmental benefits of choosing resale over fast-fashion — according to ThredUp, every item bought secondhand reduces its waste, water and carbon footprints by 82%.

At the same time, younger consumers are also becoming increasingly eco-conscious. According to ThredUp, nine in 10 Gen Zers are open to buying used apparel, and roughly half of shoppers plan to buy more sustainable fashion in the next five years.

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