A renewed movement is taking place in the fashion industry, and what was once old is becoming new again. At the forefront of the movement is thredUP, an online thrift and resale consignment store where consumers can buy and sell high-quality used garments. This platform is redirecting throwaway fashion into discounted treasures that are delivered right to front doors without the hassle of sifting through sales racks. More importantly, they’re capturing items that already exist, which saves substantial resources and negative environmental impacts that traditionally accompany new textile production. Partnered with the convenience of online shopping, conscious consumers are beginning to use their wallets to protect the environment and choose #secondhandfirst.
When it launched in 2009, thredUP set out with a goal to remove the stigma associated with thrift shopping and make it more appealing as a first-choice option. Simultaneously, they began working to solve the waste crisis in the fashion industry, where reportedly 64% of the garments produced for the U.S. market each year end up in landfills. It’s been said that returning just one clothing item back into the circular economy (as a donation or recyclable) reduces its carbon footprint by 82%. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to many traditional donation services as businesses were forced to pause out of concerns for health and safety.
Despite this setback, thredUP’s 2021 resale report revealed that 33 million people bought secondhand for the first time in 2020. The resale sector grew during the pandemic and is even projected to increase sales to $77 billion in the next 5 years. This positive momentum is evidence of a shift in fashion culture and will allow thredUP to continue extending the life cycle of millions of garments.
“We hope to shine a light on the positive power of resale and create a catalyst for further collaboration and action across the country,” said James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of thredUP. With over 100 million garments processed to date, they are a shining example for others to follow.
A visit to the thredUP website invites you to explore over 35,000 brands that can be filtered by various categories based on individual preferences like price, designer or size. Since the majority of items are unique, shoppers have the option to filter their search to show only items that are available based on their size and style preferences. This makes shopping resale more convenient and inclusive across a wide audience with differing needs.
Meanwhile, sellers can order a closet clean-out kit, and thredUP will include a label allowing them to drop off the box at the nearest FedEx or USPS location. From there, they can rest easy knowing that the items will be thoughtfully processed, inspected and sorted using world-class technology. If any items don’t pass inspection, they will be responsibly recycled. Items that make it onto the rack are sold on consignment, which means sellers can earn a percentage of the profits when their item is purchased. Pricing and payouts are determined by brand, seasonality and quality, so the results will vary. Rest assured that thredUP stays in touch with sellers every step of the journey.
With companies like thredUP changing the script on thrifting and resale: what was once considered an embarrassing or cheap alternative is transforming into a lasting statement for sustainability. This is a celebration for resale culture, and thredUP has focused its brand messaging on encouraging consumers to “Thrift Loudly” in response. Making a choice to shop secondhand is a decision everyone can be proud of, as it translates into an act of compassion for the planet and the hope for a better fashion future.