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ThredUp, Reformation Launch Program That Rewards Clothing Resale

ThredUp is making clothing reuse an industry-wide affair with a new platform that allows brands and retailers to partake in the “circular fashion economy,” the secondhand e-tailer announced last week.

Participants in the program can send in their clothing castoffs for free, then earn shopping credits with ThredUp’s partners for items that meet the company’s quality standards for reselling.

ThredUp is kicking off UpCycle, as the platform is dubbed, with Reformation, the eco-friendly women’s wear label beloved by cool girls like Karlie Kloss, Taylor Swift and Rihanna. Customers who send in clothes by Dec. 31 will earn an extra 15 percent payout bonus on top of the 5 to 90 percent of the listing price they’ll already receive on accepted items, ThredUp said. (Higher-end brands get a bigger slice of the payout.)

The firm says it accepts an average of 40 percent of the garments from each bag it receives. The rest is reused or “responsibly recycled.”

Turning old clothes into new Reformation credit is a pretty frictionless process. All customers have to do is print out a Reformation x ThredUp UpCycle label on the ThredUp website, slap it on a box or bag of unwanted clothing and hand the whole thing off to a mail carrier. Reformation customers will also automatically receive an UpCycle kit in their orders through May 2019. Beginning in November, Reformation will become a payment option for sellers on ThredUp, too.

Reformation and ThredUp estimate the program will recycle 730,000 items, nearly 10 times the amount of clothing Reformation pledged to keep out of landfills this year.

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“We started Reformation to create a sustainable way to be fashionable and because we believe consumers have the buying and selling power to eliminate waste,” Yael Aflalo, Reformation’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “The partnership with ThredUp supports our recycling and reuse efforts and adds even more easy options to shop responsibly.” 

Keeping clothing in rotation for longer is better for the environment, experts agree. Extending the life of a garment by just three months leads to a 5 percent to 10 percent reduction in its carbon, waste and water footprints, according to the Waste & Resources Action Program, a U.K. environmental nonprofit.

Following that argument, returning a piece of clothing “back into the circular economy” and keeping it in service for another 2.2 years will reduce its carbon, waste and water footprints by 73 percent, said ThredUp, which claims to be the world’s largest online consignment and thrift store. 

“At ThredUp, we believe in extending the life of clothes and the positive impact reuse can have on our environment,” said James Reinhart, its founder and CEO. “So many brands share our vision, but they don’t know where to start. ThredUp UpCycle will help advance a more circular economy.”

ThredUp said it will announce its next partner on Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving on Nov. 22.