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‘No End of Life’ for Garments Restored in Restitch’s Workwear Capsule

Taylor Stitch’s take-back program Restitch has a theme for its third edition: workwear.

Restitch takes back worn branded clothing items from the men’s wear label and re-styles them into one-of-a-kind pieces. The third edition, available online at the Taylor Stitch website on Tuesday, features an exclusive workwear capsule of 25 apparel items, with vintage pieces accounting for the smaller sub-group of items that have been rebuilt.

According to CEO and co-founder Michael Maher, the men’s wear brand now takes back about 1,500 items when it begins preparing for the next Restitch collection. The smaller Vintage capsule tends to bear a higher price tag, while a worn, refurbished cotton shirt would fit more into the general resale collection.

Maher noted that the brand—which sells shirts, denim jeans and jackets knitwear, footwear, outwear, and belts—has been collecting items over the past several product drops to pull together its first thematic grouping. The workwear collection features what he called “chore clothing,” such as a double-knee work pant featuring a substantial canvas that’s suitable for the rigors of working outdoors.

The CEO also explained how some items find their way to its secondary sale market, noting that defects such as a missed stitch are often the culprit. Taylor Stitch can’t sell these minorly defective pieces as first quality, but once any defects are mended, they can sell these item as unworn but refurbished. That gives consumers better pricing, and ensures almost-like-new items “doesn’t end up in the waste stream. That is our goal,” Maher said.

Once items are on the site, “they are sold, on average about 90 percent of the inventory, in the first seven to nine days,” the CEO said. An original Oxford white shirt that’s been worn before would be priced at $45, while a repaired pair of vintage jeans commands $300.

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As for savings to the consumer, an “Oxford that is first-run would sell for $98. A repaired Oxford, not worn, would be priced at $50 and a worn Oxford, at $45,” Maher said.

About 85 percent of all apparel ends up in landfills, including items that consumers have donated, Maher said, explaining that 100 percent of those items can be recycled or upcycled. “Through Restitch, and our partnership with Yerdle, we prove there is no end of life, only end of use,” he said.

Yerdle, which runs circular programs for Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and others, maintains a network of refurbishers and repairers, as well as an operations and logistics team that fixes the clothes, photographs the items, tag them and ship the items back to Taylor Stitch.

According to Andy Ruben, Yerdle’s founder and CEO, “Resale is the biggest step any brand can take when it comes to fostering a more sustainable business.” He added that the Restitch program is an example of “how a brand can embrace sustainability, while simultaneously creating unique, coveted items for their customers.”

Speaking Monday at a UBS Future of Retail Conference panel on “The State of Resale Marketplaces and Rentals,” Ruben noted that because products from high-end brands are “incredibly well-designed” and use quality fabrications, they’re well suited to withstand changing hands often and could be resold through up to four cycles.