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New on ThredUp? Rent the Runway’s Retired Designer Duds

As the fight for a truly circular economy rages on, two of the industry’s biggest resale and rental players are teaming up.

On Thursday, Rent the Runway and resale apparel and accessories giant ThredUp announced a new partnership. Dubbed Revive by Rent the Runway, the new tie-up allows ThredUp shoppers to purchase designer garments that were once available for rent on the popular platform for a fraction of their retail cost.

After a certain amount of wear-and-tear, RTR typically pulls items from circulation and donates them to vetted non-profit organizations, or offers them up to members for purchase at a discount. Through the Revive program, those retired items are sold on ThredUp’s e-commerce site, making them available to shoppers without a Rent the Runway membership. The capsule already boasts more than 8,000 items from more than 500 designers at up to 80 percent off retail pricing, and new arrivals are being added every hour, according to a statement from RTR.

A Natori blouse available from Revive by RTR.
A Natori blouse available from Revive. Revive by Rent the Runway

“Resale and rental are powering a rising wave of conscious consumption,” said ThredUp co-founder and CEO James Reinhart. “Extending the life of clothing through reuse reduces fashion’s impact on the planet and delivers incredible value to consumers.”

As a part of the program’s launch, RTR members will receive a ThredUp closet clean-out bag in their next shipment of rentals, allowing them to thrift the items in their wardrobe they’re ready to part with. When those items sell on the site, they will receive shopping credit in return.

A Tory Burch bag available through the Revive partnership.
A Tory Burch bag for sale through the Revive partnership. Revive by Rent the Runway

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The partnership seems a natural fit for ThredUp and RTR, as both companies have stated their goal to keep fashion items in circulation as long as possible, sparing them from a landfill fate.

Meanwhile, textile waste is getting a closer look across the pond, too.

According to the U.K.’s Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), about 11 million pieces of apparel end up in the trash heap each year. The British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion announced its first flagship research project, the Waste Ecosystem Project, on Thursday, with the goal of finding a solution.

Analysis of the current state of the industry and its waste output will lead to an action-driven plan that details strategies for managing inventory, reducing waste and shifting to more sustainable and circular operations, BFC said. The council plans to submit a proposal detailing a plan for the education and training of industry stakeholders, the creation of a new collections and recycling infrastructure, new innovations in textile recycling, upcycling options and shifting consumer mindsets to adopt more sustainable behaviors.

The project’s goal is to lay the groundwork for a circular fashion sector in the U.K., which will act as a blueprint for the global industry.

“Now, more than ever, there is a need to help the fashion industry accelerate towards a world of circularity as a result of the inventory waste crisis,” said BFC chief executive Caroline Rush.

“Post the pandemic, we have a massive opportunity to reset the fashion industry rather than returning to business as usual and the Waste Ecosystem Project will play a key part in this.”

According to Rush, fashion’s waste problem has worsened during Covid amid supply-chain shutdowns and uncertain consumer appetites. Research conducted for the BFC by Oxford Economics this year saw 73 percent of U.K. fashion brands experiencing canceled orders from wholesale partners. Clothing sales in the country fell by 34 percent in March alone, leaving brands with a glut of unsold inventory that they’re still struggling to get off their hands.

Fabric treatment company Vanish, a subsidiary of brand group Reckitt Benckiser, has partnered with the BFC on research for the Waste Ecosystem Project. The company’s stain removal products make it an relevant collaborator for a garment care education program targeting industry experts, fashion influencers and thought leaders in the fashion space.

Vanish will also sponsor London Fashion Week as a means of bringing the issue of circularity to a wider consumer audience, BFC said.