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By Samantha Dersarkissian



Key Takeaways

  • Gen Zs are shopping differently and in order to stay relevant, brands will need to integrate resale into their core business beyond a marketing or loyalty program.

  • Addressing the growing GHG footprint of fashion requires innovation and vague product claims can put the brand at risk.

It is #SecondhandSeptember, but the growth in thrifting/pre-loved isn’t just from this month, even a month with alliteration.  The growth stems from deeper shifts in commerce including drivers in cultural norms that no longer distinguish between new and used, affordability, access to premium brands, the thrill of the hunt, and more sustainable circular models.  I spent this Monday with the ZSuite, a group of Gen Zs discussing commerce, resale, and sustainability.  If you haven’t discussed thrifting with a Gen Z, I would highly recommend it.  It is easy to see why brands will need to adapt their businesses for trade-in and resale, well beyond talk and marketing.

This past week, Vera Bradly expanded what had been a trade-in program with Thredup, and ON launched a brand-owned resale program, Onward.  Both brands clearly see the opportunity in resale.  Vera Bradly’s program expands the work with ThredUP which leverages ThredUP’s system for trade-in, payout and merchandising. Leveraging another retailer to serve a customer’s needs can be a fine way to start but over the longer term brands will need to significantly integrate these programs into their core businesses and own their customers.

As Bloomberg reported, On launched Onward as an example of a program fully owned by the brand, including control of merchandising, pricing, condition, and customer experience. On has a track record for pushing the bounds of innovation, challenging limits that previously existed in the footwear industry. The incorporation of the program into their core business allows them to fully capture the shifts in customer behavior for their business model.

Retail Brew covered the inevitability of luxury brands embracing resale.  As this happens, the importance of brand control of the experience and customer data as part of the core business will only become more pronounced.

eBay announced a partnership with Reskinned, who repairs and resells slightly damaged items.  This is another recent example of eBay’s continued interest in staying relevant in the fast-growing trade-in and resale space.

This brings me to the next headline, Is the luxury sneaker bubble about to burst?  Anyone who is buying sneakers as an asset should understand the risks of trading assets. It is a market based on supply and demand.  There will be new styles and designers with more demand than supply and of course the opposite.  For brands, the risks of a hot and at times over-inflated market are both an increase in counterfeiting and brand perception.  Replicas hurt both the brand and inflate supply as brands do their best to stay cool and design products with high demand over time.

 Staying with sneakers, Retail Dive covered Nike’s announcement of a new material called Forward to replace knits and wovens. Forward is reported to have a 75% lower carbon footprint compared to standard knit fleece.  Nobody should confuse this 75% reduction as a footprint reduction–materials and production of materials are just part of the overall item footprint.  Depending on the use and adoption of Forward, this could be an incredible step.  Material innovation is expensive and takes time and good for Nike for continuing to drive it.  These reductions in material GHG plus more circular models are all needed given the rampant increase from our current apparel model.

And finally, two retailers, H&M and Decathlon, have agreed to “adjust or no longer use sustainability claims on their clothes and/or websites,” after an investigation into potentially misleading marketing claims found that certain terms like “Ecodesign” and “Conscious” were not sufficiently substantiated.  Get ready, I expect there is only so long the market creativity will trump increasing expectations for real change.

 Until next week,

Andy Ruben

Cited News:

Bloomberg News | The Business of Fashion | Retail Brew | ElPais News

Swiss Running-Shoe Brand on Launches Resale Site in Sustainability Push


Swiss Running shoe brand On launched its resale site, Onward, in partnership with Trove.

H&M, Decathlon to Make Donations Dial Back Sustainability Claims to Avoid Dutch Greenwashing Crackdown


H&M and Decathlon have promised to adjust or no longer use sustainability claims on their clothes and websites. The two retailers have decided to donate about $508,000 to causes linked to sustainability in the fashion industry after the Netherlands Authority for Consumer Markets did an investigation on these two brands and decided the terminology did not meet the standard for consumers to make informed purchase decisions.

For luxury brands, resale is almost an inevitability 

Retail Brew

Luxury brands have been noticeably slower to adopt resale strategies because there’s a perception it can cannibalize sales, but it seems that the tide is turning. Luxury brands like Oscar De La Renta  have recently launched an in-house resale site and Balenciaga saw demand on The RealReal increase 41% YoY, per the company’s latest luxury resale report.

Nike: From everyday item to high-end collectible: Is the luxury sneaker bubble about to burst?

El Pais

The future of luxury sneakers is looking bleak. What will happen if the value of rare sneakers dissipates? Between resale scammers and robot sneaker launch buyers, the luxury resale sneaker market may have reached its peak and could crash in the near future.

On, Vera Bradley Expand ESG Efforts with New Resale Programs

Retail TouchPoints

Both On And Vera Bradley have recently expanded their resale programs – On launched Onward in partnership with Trove, and Vera Bradley recently introduced ReActive, a line featuring products made from recycled water bottles and cotton. Vera Bradley has also expanded it’s current partnership with ThredUp to include vintage pre-loved Vera Bradley items.

ThredUP will power resale for Vera Bradley, serving the surge of consumers who plan to refresh their closets.

PR Newswire

ThredUp and Vera Bradley join forces for the impending post-pandemic “Clean Out Frenzy.” According to a report by GlobalData, 80% of U.S. consumers plan to refresh their closets once the pandemic is over, either by purging items they no longer want or buying items. Vera Bradley offers thredUP Kits which customers fill with apparel and thredUp ships for free. thredUp then pays the sellers in the form of a Vera Bradley gift card for their sellable items.

eBay partner with Reskinned to expand preloved offerings


What’s wrong with perfectly imperfect items? eBay has recently partnered with Redskinned, a company that takes back worn items from shoppers and reconditions them for resale, repurpose, or recycling.

Nike’s new material could ‘change the apparel industry.’ CEO says

Retail Dive

In response to the growing concerns of climate change from athletes about how it may impact the future of sports, Nike has launched a new material called Forward. Production of Forward uses fewer steps than the brand’s traditional knits and wovens, resulting in about a 75% lower carbon footprint compared to standard knit fleece.

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