Material Exchange will launch a new digital platform designed to link denim deadstock from around the world with manufacturers who will bring it back into circulation.
Called Deadstock Depot, the platform will showcase products and give relevant data such as weight and fiber content, in addition to information about the point of origin. That includes the mill’s carbon footprint, position on sustainability, how it treats its employees, and even if it provides good childcare for workers. Cost per yard of fabric will also be included.
The goal is to make Deadstock the single global destination for excess inventory, according to Ben Felton, chief strategy officer for the platform.
“Consumers are asking for more sustainable products, brands are wishing to meet this demand and legislation is pushing to make it happen,” he said. “These forces are coming together to make Deadstock a great option.”
Sellers on the site pay nothing. Deadstock Depot takes a commission on any transaction that comes from the website, he added.
So far there are eight international denim companies involved in the pilot, which will launch officially at the Kingpins Show in Amsterdam, April 12-13. Deadstock Depot is open to all 88 exhibitors at the show.
Details of goods on offer are currently limited to weights, as in tight jeans and baggy jeans, and lightweight for tops and jackets.
Sampling remains an issue yet to be solved. According to Felton, the current system is slow and wasteful and needs to be streamlined. “People still want to touch and feel the fabrics,” he said.
This aggregation of information has been a long time coming, especially given the calls for increased sustainability industry wide.
“There is a richness of functionality and data in it that has been difficult to find,” Felton said. “This is where we can talk about the suppliers, the different ways they do stuff, and sustainability requirements coming from consumer demand and legislation.”
There is approximately $131 billion worth of fabric sitting in warehouses worldwide, with 92 million tons going wasted each year, most going into a landfill or getting incinerated to make room for new fabrics. And there is nothing more sustainable than using something that has already been created, Felton said.
Sustainability is the driver behind the idea of turning dead stock into live stock, which came to the team at Material Exchange, a B2B SaaS-enabled marketplace, during Covid when it was asked by Kingpins organizers to create a digital denim marketplace to replace the physical one on hiatus. Material Exchange is the owner of Olah Textile Agency which owns Kingpins.
They saw an industry in need of an overhaul and set out to transform sourcing, making it more efficient and more transparent, according to Felton.
“I’ve come from a lot of different industries, and I have never seen such an antiquated process,” he said. “We looked at this world and said we could do better.”
“What we have done is simplify the process,” he added.