Circularity is heating up in the outdoor industry as Arc’teryx opened a new hybrid retail store and repair service center while Eddie Bauer is making resale a reality for customers looking to purchase affordable pre-owned goods.
The Canadian outdoor label’s fourth Toronto-based location is one of just two physical locations for ReBird, the brand’s circularity program extending the life of apparel and gear. Located in the Toronto Eaton Center, the new store will be the first in Canada to offer small repairs and product care education alongside the traditional retail assortment. Arc’teryx said it plans to open more ReBird service centers across North America.
“Arc’teryx’s ReBird circular initiative encourages our guests to look after their gear, thereby extending the life of the product and keeping it out of the landfill,” Dominique Showers, the program’s vice president, said. Learnings from Arc’teryx‘s first service center in Soho will inform the company’s circularity roadmap, she said, adding, “Since opening last fall 2021, our New York service team have been able to resolve more than three-quarters of functionally compromised gear on site, reducing the impact on turnaround time for our guests.”
The brand is aiming for an “urgent care” experience of sorts by delivering “clear education for technical product care, full assessments and light-touch repairs that keep gear in the field longer.” Consumers might bring in used outerwear for a Gore-Tex leak test, for example, which will tell them if their jacket’s waterproof membrane is still effective. They can also request zipper repairs including slider and bottom box replacement, along with new pull cords, buckles, and patches. A product in need of more extensive repairs can be sent offsite for Gore-Tex replacement or services.
Arc’teryx’s ReBird platform launched last year with one-of-a-kind upcycled outerwear and accessories. It also sells pre-owned pieces through its Used Gear microsite, and Showers recently said the company is considering new investments in take-back and reuse.
The outdoor label maintains that education is a key to promoting longer product life cycles, and has held events in New York and Los Angeles to teach consumers about the basics of garment repair and upcycling. In June, Arc’teryx set up a makeshift workshop at its La Brea, Ave. store in L.A. where attendees reworked castoffs into new items and had the opportunity to learn basic cut-and-sew skills with the help of the brand’s product development team and guest designer Nicole McLaughlin, an expert in upcycling and salvaging materials. “As a brand that really commits itself to durability and extending the life of the products, we really firmly believe that we need to keep them out of landfills,” Showers said at the time.
Eddie Bauer develops resale channel
Meanwhile, visitors to Eddie Bauer’s e-commerce site can now purchase pre-owned gear.
The effort adds to the (Re)Adventure platform the outdoor retailer launched last summer in partnership with reverse logistics firm and rental site Arrive Outdoors. The scheme allows shoppers to borrow gear including anoraks, sleeping bags, tents and camp chairs for a daily fee, giving them the flexibility and freedom to access products without committing to a big-ticket purchase.
As of Aug. 1, consumers are able to rent items or purchase pre-owned goods on the (Re)Adventure platform. For example, a Women’s MicroTherm 2.0 Down Jacket retailing for more than $200 is available through resale for $98 ror can be rented for $7 a day.
Investing in resale and rental is part of Eddie Bauer’s goal to integrate more circular channels by 2023. “One of the biggest opportunities to reduce the negative environmental impacts of products is to use them longer because increasing the life cycle of a product reduces the need to replace it with another product,” it said.
“By also launching programs that enable product resale, product repair, and the upcycling of products and materials, we’re able to further extend the useful life of Eddie Bauer products and participate in a more circular business model,” it added.
Circularity also democratizes outdoor participation, where high costs hold back some consumers. “It’s Eddie Bauer’s goal to make sure the outdoors are more inclusive and accessible to all communities,” vice president of marketing Kristen Elliott told Sourcing Journal last year.