Madewell and ThredUp, the world’s largest online consignment and thrift store, introduced Thursday a new physical component to their long-standing partnership and mission to extend the life of clothes.
The duo opened Madewell Forever x ThredUp: A Circular Store, a popup in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where customers can shop a full assortment of preowned Madewell apparel sourced from ThredUp. The 1,700-square-foot store sells 100 percent secondhand clothing and is filled entirely with hundreds of “preloved” Madewell styles with prices ranging from $10-$40 across jeans, dresses, jackets and more.
Though temporary—the shop will remain open through the end of October—the debut marks a bold step by Madewell and ThredUp as other denim brands experiment with resale through online-only platforms and popups in existing stores.
Billed as a “circular fashion shopping experience,” consumer education is at the forefront in the store. Statistics about fashion waste and steps for building a circular wardrobe create impactful touchpoints in the store, aiming to inspire consumers to extend the life of their clothes. QR codes at each station offer a deeper dive into how to buy, wear, care, and pass on clothes for the good of the environment. An in-store mending station allows consumers to bring in their own clothes in need of expert on-site repair, or tailor clothes purchased in store for a better fit.
To encourage consumers to keep clothes in use and out of landfills, ThredUp clean-out kits are also available.
“We created a space where consumers and retailers can be educated on and inspired by the importance of creating clothes to last and extending the life of clothes,” said Erin Wallace, ThredUp’s vice president of integrated marketing. “Everything about the store layout and experience reflects these goals, from the entry manifesto declaring ‘the future is preloved’ to the fashion waste statistics and data on the benefits of reuse found throughout.”
The store follows the July launch of Madewell Forever, a resale program powered by ThredUp that incentivizes consumers to bring in their preowned denim to Madewell stores to earn Madewell shopping credit. Preowned Madewell garments are currently available in Madewell select stores and online. With this partnership, Madewell and ThredUp aim to double the lifespan of each recirculated garment. They have set a goal of collecting one million denim articles by 2023.
“We’re excited with how well Madewell Forever has been received by our customers. As a customer-driven brand, we always respond directly to their feedback and keep an eye on what they are trending towards,” said Liz Hershfield, Madewell SVP of sustainability. “Customers have always been drawn to us because we prioritize sustainability. There is a growing desire to learn to shop sustainably and it’s been great to see both loyal and new customers use Madewell Forever as a new way to connect with our brand.”
Stepping into resale is both a strategic and eco-conscious move for Madewell, which through its Do Well program has set a mission to enact long-term commitments that will further sustainable and circular practices across the business. New research from ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report shows that secondhand is projected to double in the next five years. In 2020, 33 million Americans snapped up secondhand apparel for the first time. Over the next five years, resale is poised to double to $77 billion.
“We believe that all brands should aim to create a positive impact on the world and circularity specifically has long been a priority for our sustainability focus. In order to reduce our impact, we need to address the post-consumer phase, and one of the best ways to do this is to keep clothing in circulation as long as possible. That is why we’ve really taken the time to evolve our approach to resale throughout the years,” Hershfield said.
“The industry is seeing more and more brands enter the resale space. Our hope is that through this popup we are able to give our customers and retailers a literal glimpse of what a circular fashion future looks like,” she added.
The J.Crew Group-owned brand continues to align its product strategies with the same values of its millennial female consumers.
It recently dropped the online “Curvy Shop” to highlight its 70-piece fall Curvy Collection. The line offers Madewell’s most popular fits reengineered with design details like contoured waistbands, longer rises and extra room in the hips and thighs to better fit hourglass shapes. Available in standard, petite, plus and tall fits, Curvy Collection sizes span 23 to 28W.
Jeans in the collection are made at the Fair Trade Certified factory, Saitex. For each jean made at the Vietnamese factory, Madewell contributes to a Community Development Fund managed by the workers.
Recent campaigns have also helped raise funds for the National Independent Venue Association, an organization that represents more than 3,000 venues, promoters and festivals throughout the U.S. financially hurt by pandemic-related lockdowns and closures, and for Parks Project, a National Parks conservation organization.