ThredUp president Anthony Marino wants people to “think secondhand first.” And whether educating consumers on why resale is good for the planet, or convincing retail execs on why it’s good for business, the initiative is working. Data-driven resale platform ThredUp, has processed and diverted more than 125 million unique secondhand items (over 35,000 brands from Gap to Gucci) from landfill, saved consumers $3.9 billion off retail price, and displaced more than 1.1 billion pounds of carbon emissions. But, Marino admits, the industry has a long way to go in terms of impact.
To hold players accountable, this year ThredUp debuted the Recommerce 100 monthly index, which reviews brands and retailers with dedicated resale programs. “We hope to raise awareness around resale’s impact and celebrate brands driving the biggest change,” said Marino, noting ThredUp just hired its first-ever head of public policy and sustainability.
With 62 percent of Gen Z and Millennials saying they look for an item secondhand before purchasing it new, ThredUp actively courts this consumer. This spring, thredUP collaborated with celebrity stylist Karla Welch to combat single-use fashion during festival and wedding seasons, and created a Tunnel of Pre-Loved out of 1,000 pounds of secondhand clothes at Coachella for singer-songwriter Laufey’s show.
Marino loves flipping mindsets (while working at Virgin Group, he suggested to Sir Richard Branson that they get into hotels) and shredding retail’s “take-make-dispose” business model. “When we first launched Resale-as-a-Service (RaaS) in 2018, it was difficult to get brands and retailers to talk to us,” he said. “Today, we’re speaking with hundreds of the world’s leading brands to help them enter the resale ecosystem in a way that works for their brand and their customer.”
What denim buzzword do you think is overused? And what would you replace it with?
I’m not familiar with a denim buzzword that I think is overused. But I do think we should make “used” a new buzzword!
What do you wish more consumers knew about the jeans they buy?
Denim requires a lot of water to produce, but they can also withstand a lot of wear and last for years. The next time you’re shopping for a pair of jeans, consider purchasing secondhand on ThredUp or through one of our RaaS clients who sells denim like Madewell or NYDJ. You can find jeans that are new with tags, in “like new” condition, or up to 90 percent off. And you’ll feel good about your purchase because you’re making a sustainable choice.
If you had one request for denim brands, what would that be?
Pay close attention to your customer. Forty-five percent of Gen Z and Millennials say they’re more likely to shop with a brand that offers secondhand clothing alongside new clothing, according to ThredUp’s 2022 Resale Report. The data suggests that resale is getting attention at the Board level and will be an integral part of business within the next decade, so the most important part is just getting started so you can test, learn, iterate and improve. If entering the ecosystem feels scary or complex, partner with a company like ThredUp who can handle the complexity of single SKU logistics and have a resale shop up and running within 30 days or less.
What can other apparel categories learn from the denim industry?
The denim industry traditionally has made durable, long-lasting products that can withstand the test of time. I believe it’s critical for brands and retailers to follow suit and focus on the quality of their products vs. the quantity. There is an alarming amount of water consumption, energy emissions and chemical usage that occurs with new clothing production. Designing for longevity supports a circular model for fashion by extending the life of clothing, increasing utilization and diverting clothing from landfills.
What was your most recent denim purchase?
A Levi’s Western button-down shirt.
What is your first denim memory?
My first pair of Guess jeans back in 1985.