Climate concerns: The power of the resale market

2018 has seen climate anxiety reach an all time high.

With this comes a sharp rise in consumer desire to actively limit, or even reverse, environmental damage – and it’s impacting across all areas of the fashion industry.

As an industry that has left a considerable negative impact on the environment, the past year has been key in recognising fashion’s failings. Leaders in this space are now beginning to host conversation around sustainability and change – and turn environmental pledges into action.

These changes come not just from a moral and ethical imperative, but a financial need too, as consumers will begin to reject brands that aren’t on board.

As consumer priorities shift, the desire to buy into and benefit from the circular fashion economy is growing. The resale market is gaining traction, and the winning retail brands of 2019 and beyond will be those that tap into the appetite for the resale process.

As part of WGSN’s most recent white paper, The High Velocity Consumer, we caught up with thredUP, the world’s largest online marketplace for secondhand clothes. In ten years, the offering has grown, and the platform’s Remade line of clothing is data-backed, and designed with reselling in mind.

thredUP Instagram

How have you used data to develop the Remade line?

At thredUP, we have millions of data points about what apparel resells and why. To create Remade, our data scientists analysed this resale data to surface the styles, sizes, materials and patterns that have been enduringly popular on thredUP over the years. From there, we ran each proposed design through our machine-learning algorithms to narrow the field by predicting which combinations would sell the fastest while holding their value and demand over time.

For example, we knew floral wrap dresses were a key style based on historical data, but in deciding between light floral and dark floral, our machine-learning algorithms made the decision for us.


How did you come up with the idea to launch your own line?

Remade fills a gap in the market for affordable, quality garments with guaranteed resale value. thredUP’s wealth of data makes us uniquely positioned to create a line of garments that will sell again and again. Our mission is to inspire the next generation to think secondhand first, and Remade is the first line designed for this resale revolution. Items are designed to be resold instead of landfilled. As new waves of consumers begin to shop with resale in mind, we’re thrilled to make it easy and affordable participate in the circular economy.


What attributes does this collection have that differs from other clothing – thinking about things like durability? 

Quality construction at affordable prices.

Because Remade is designed to be resold, durable construction and quality materials were extremely important – right down to the stitching. Designs were overseen by thredUP board member and former Diane Von Furstenberg president, Paula Sutter, who helped us translate resale data into fashionable wardrobe staples. Remade has the quality construction and flattering silhouettes of popular upper-contemporary brands, without the high price point.

A buyback guarantee.

Traditional garments offer no information about past ownership, but Remade solves this with “Lifespan” QR codes attached to every item tag. These codes surface each item’s entire history with a single scan, meaning customers can easily sell their garments back months or even years after purchase and earn up to 40% of the original value with Remade’s Buyback Guarantee.


How successful has it been so far?

Remade just launched, but we’ve already seen incredible interest in the line from new and existing customers. We’re thrilled with the initial launch and look forward to refining the collection to make the circular economy accessible to everyone, and extend the life of every garment produced.


To understand the six consumer drivers that are changing the pace of retail, download WGSN’s latest white paper, The High Velocity Consumer.

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