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Madewell Enhances Resale Program with ‘Clean Out Kits’

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

Madewell is making it easier for consumers to rid their closets of unwanted jeans.

The retailer, which expanded its resale program Madewell Forever with ThredUp’s Resale-as-a-Service (RaaS) technology in 2021, recently introduced “clean out kits” as another way for consumers to sustainably recycle unwanted garments.

Each kit, which are available at Madewell stores and online at MadewellForever.com, includes a free shipping label that can be used on any box. Consumers can load up their packages with women’s clothing, handbags, footwear, and accessories by any brand, and then drop it off at a USPS or FedEx location. Packages can weigh up to 30 lbs.

Customers receive $20 off new jeans from Madewell for each pair they send in. Consumers also have opportunities to earn shopping credit in exchange for any other clothing that “makes the cut” or is resold on ThredUp.

Madewell notes that only 50 percent of items in the average kit qualify to be listed on the resell site. The rest is responsibly recycled. For items to qualify, they must show no signs of wear, including pulling, fading and shrinkage, no damage and no alterations.

Brands and retailers are working to eliminate the barriers and hurdles that prevent textile recycling. Size-inclusive underwear brand Parade announced last week that it will provide consumers with free biodegradable bags and prepaid shipping labels to return clean, used underwear from any brand in exchange for a 20 percent discount on their next purchase. With the help of Parade’s recycling partner TerraCycle, the garments will eventually be turned into new products such as insulation, furniture and bedding.

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In 2019, Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green program established a partnership with Zappos to promote denim recycling. The arrangement continues to allow consumers to mail in unwanted jeans made with at least 90 percent cotton to Blue Jeans Go Green via a Zappos For Good prepaid shipping label. The jeans are converted to natural cotton fiber insulation for buildings.

Madewell Forever has collected almost 125,000 pairs of jeans via its trade-in program since the launch last July. Through the resale platform, Madewell and ThredUp aim to double the life span of each recirculated garment and have set a goal of collecting one million pairs of denim by 2023.