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Unfolding Recommerce: Transforming Fashion Sustainability through Resale

August 24, 2023

As the fashion industry continues to grow and evolve, so does the need for sustainable practices. One such initiative gaining popularity in recent years is recommerce, which refers to the buying and selling of pre-owned items online to reduce textile waste and promote circular economy. In fact, according to ThredUp, the recommerce industry is expected to reach a staggering $64 billion by 2024. 

Not only does recommerce benefit the environment by reducing the demand for new production and decreasing carbon footprint, but it also offers financial incentives for consumers to embrace sustainable fashion. By selling their gently used clothing and accessories, consumers can earn back some of their initial investment in the garment and afford to purchase second-hand items from other sellers, creating a continuous flow of clothing within the market. 

Several fashion brands have also embraced recommerce as a means to drive sustainability and promote circular economy. Patagonia’s Worn Wear program allows customers to trade in their used gear in exchange for store credit, which Patagonia then repairs and resells on its e-commerce platform. The RealReal operates as an online marketplace for pre-owned luxury items, while Goodfair uses storytelling and recycled shipping materials to sell second-hand clothing, and donates a portion of its proceeds to clothing donations and social initiatives. H&M has even launched its “Looop” garment-to-garment recycling machine, which mechanically breaks down fabric and creates new yarns that can be spun into new garments. 

Depop, an app for buying and selling pre-owned clothing, is another example of a successful recommerce platform, popular among younger consumers. With a social media component that allows users to connect over their shared love for fashion, Depop has become a breeding ground for small, independent fashion brands that promote sustainable fashion practices and keep clothing out of the landfill. 

To succeed in this growing industry, businesses must ensure their internal and external supply chains are in order. Working with a professional to set up a recommerce business, warehouse, and software can help businesses scale and grow their operations seamlessly. 

The recommerce industry presents a promising opportunity for fashion brands to promote sustainable practices and reduce the significant environmental impact of the industry. The five inspiring examples mentioned above show how recommerce can be a versatile and creative tool in the fight for sustainability. As we move towards a more conscious and environmentally aware society, recommerce is poised to be a game changer in the realm of sustainable fashion. 

If you would like to discuss how we can help improve your recommerce business connect with one of our experts today.