Sustainability is sexier than ever. We’ve traded ocean-clogging plastic straws for trendy, reusable options that look good and help save the planet. We’ve rented out clothes from luxury fashion brands instead of paying $8 for seven low-quality tops at the mall. And now, one of the nation’s most renowned clothing companies has unveiled a program to help extend the life of our clothing. Enter Levi’s SecondHand, a new way to shop sustainably and reduce clothing waste.
Denim enthusiasts are invited to drop off their old Levi’s jeans and denim jackets at participating stores. For doing so, you’ll get a gift card — valued at $15 to $25 — to use toward a future purchase. The brand will then professionally clean and list your items on its new Levi’s SecondHand website.
If you haven’t ditched us to check out the website already, you’ll see that the secondhand offerings are seriously impressive. There’s an extensive array of sizes and patterns and an option to search by early 2000s offerings, and cool vintage finds. There are trendy pieces for sale, like a colorful tie-dye Levi’s Trucker Jacket for $65 and, of course, so many jeans in a variety of different fits and washes.
Anyone who loves to thrift knows how exciting it is to find a cool pair of vintage jeans at a little hole in the wall consignment store. That feels reminiscent of — not to be dramatic or anything — finding a $100 bill on the side of the road. So this begs the question: Will you purchase used denim from Levi’s SecondHand, or will you stick to the itty-bitty thrift store where you can get ’em for extra extra cheap? Levi’s CMO Jennifer Sey expects the program to be extremely successful.
“Young people, in particular, have a really high engagement with the secondhand market,” Sey tells WWD. “Something like 60 percent of Gen Z shops secondhand, and I can speak from personal experience, that’s what my teenagers do. They love the hunt. They feel they get something a bit more unique when they are shopping vintage, and in this age, when the Eighties and Nineties retro looks are so in, they prefer to buy the real thing. If we all chose to buy a used pair of Levi’s instead of a new pair, it would save 80 percent of CO2 emissions, and about 1.5 pounds of waste.”
The resale revolution is not-so-quietly taking over as shoppers turn to resale platforms that help push the nation toward a circular economy — whether consumers realize that or not. Online marketplaces such as The RealReal, ThreadUP, and Vestiaire Collective prioritize curating high-quality fashion and reselling them for a fraction of their retail price.
According to ThredUp’s 2020 resale report, “Resale grew 25x faster than the broader retail sector” in 2019. It also projects that resale is “projected [to] grow 5X over the next five years, while retail is projected to shrink.”
Peer-to-peer shopping apps are also having a moment thanks to platforms like Poshmark, Depop, and Etsy. What these companies have that e-commerce sites don’t is the social element that most of us desperately crave amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Depop has been dubbed the “Instagram of shopping” because users have a feed full of sellers they’re following to shop from. They can purchase from their favorite fashion influencers or buy a shirt straight out of a social media user’s #OOTD. For some, there’s nothing cooler.
So how will you be shopping for your next pair of denim? Levi’s SecondHand? Or from your local shopping mall? Let us know!