Gucci has been vocal about refashioning its brand in the image of sustainability. Now, the Kering-owned luxury label is making the leap into resale with the help of one of the sector’s buzziest startups.
On Monday, Gucci marked National Consignment Day by unveiling a partnership with The RealReal, the San Francisco luxury consignment platform where consumers can purchase pre-owned premium brands at palatable prices. Through the end of the year, visitors to therealreal.com/gucci can browse an assortment of Gucci wares in a dedicated shop, an effort, the companies said, that aims to “promote circularity for luxury fashion.”
The move can help Gucci curry favor with younger consumers who flock to resale sites while capturing momentum in the secondhand sector, which is set to leap by 27 percent this year despite an expected 23 percent slump in the overall apparel market, ThredUp found in its annual Resale Report.
“Gucci,” said The RealReal founding CEO Julie Wainwright, “is raising the bar not only for the fashion industry, but for all companies by continuously innovating to make its business more sustainable.”
Beyond encouraging consumers to extend the lifespan of Gucci goods, The RealReal and the luxury house also want to mind the planet as well. The pair will plant one tree for each purchase made, or item consigned in the U.S., through the Italian maison’s branded resale shop. One Tree Planted, the Vermont-based nonprofit that planted more than 4 million trees last year, has been tapped to execute Gucci and The RealReal’s reforestation mission.
In a year marred by a viral pandemic and devastating wildfires among other disasters, Gucci and The RealReal noted that circular shopping can help consumers actively care for the planet. Already, men’s and women’s apparel consigned through The RealReal has thwarted the emission of 230 metric tons of carbon and consumption of more than 10 million liters of water, relative to the planetary burden of manufacturing these items from scratch.
The resale venture marks the latest in a recent burst of sustainability-driven issues for Gucci. Last year, CEO Marco Bizzarri issued a “carbon neutral challenge” calling for his fellow fashion chiefs to get their supply-chain greenhouse gas emissions under control. And over the summer, the luxury brand dropped a circular collection of accessories made from recycled carpet and reclaimed fishing nets, courtesy of material innovator Econyl. Gucci hasn’t taken its foot off the sustainability gas pedal, despite the coronavirus outbreak’s harsh impact on its bottom line.
Though slow to adapt to the times, relative to fashion as a whole, luxury has been making strides to catch up to consumer demands. Luxury fashion e-commerce platform Farfetch recently published some compelling data on resale behavior and fallout after launching its own secondhand offering, and RealReal challenger, late last year. Buying pre-owned goods effectively staves off a purchase of first-market goods, according to Farfetch, whose footprint tool shows shoppers the impact of springing for resale fashion versus new.
And Burberry partnered with The RealReal last year, offering a personalized shopping experience to consumers who choose to consign their items through the startup platform. “Leading the way in creating a more circular economy for fashion is a key element of our responsibility agenda,” Pam Batty, vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry, said in a statement at the time.
Gucci’s tie-up with The RealReal comes as consumer interest in purchasing the label’s previously owned goods continues to surge. For the third consecutive year, Gucci remains the most sought-after men’s brand on The RealReal, which says demand for the company’s products is up 19 percent year over year.
“Together we’re shining a global spotlight on resale that we hope will encourage all consumers to support the circular economy and join us in reducing fashion’s carbon footprint,” Wainwright said.