ThredUp receives 14 million items of clothing annually.


REPURPOSE, REUSE: With consumers showing more interest in upcycling, recycling, sustainability and the sharing economy, many are weeding out their closets to resell, donate or swap apparel with someone who will wear it.

ThredUp, the e-tailer that sells secondhand women’s and children’s apparel, has tallied its 2016 figures to rank the brands that saw the strongest “purge surge.”

In what the company refers to as the biggest “purge surge,” New York & Co. ranked first with a 472 percent increase followed by Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Hudson’s Fabletics, Liz Lange Maternity and GAP Fit respectively. The second half of the Top 10 list were made up by Lou & Grey, Ivanka Trump, Madewell, Active by Old Navy and Vera Bradley.

In terms of trends, ThredUp visitors were eager to part with chambray items, which had a 763 percent purge increase, anything with glitter at 446 percent and maxidresses at 277 percent. Many users also packed up their pencil skirts and high-low items which ranked fourth and fifth in terms of the Most Purged Styles list.

Founded in Cambridge, Mass., in 2009, the company has its headquarters in San Francisco and a distribution center in San Leandro. ThredUp typically list 40 percent of the garments that are sent to the company after each passes a three-point inspection, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday. The resale market is expected to hit $25 billion in 2025. ThredUp board member Paula Sutter wrote on its site, “Having spent the last 30 years in the fashion industry, I have seen many trends come and go. But online resale is changing the rules and creating a better experience for a new generation of consumers. So for me, it’s not a question of if but when hundreds of millions of people all over the world make resale their new healthy habit.”

Kathleen Weng, vice president of merchandising, said, “We’ve learned seller motivations aren’t just about decluttering, but more so about refreshing their style and finding new favorites. We also see an increase in shopping this time of year.”

Ingenuity is key to the trend as evidenced by Stitched Up, a Manchester, U.K.-based nonprofit that offers sewing classes to detail denim, educational drop-in classes and online tips for making good use of old clothing such as donating it to the homeless. To raise awareness about unfair labor conditions, members have reportedly vowed to limit their wardrobe choices to six items for six weeks. The group’s Six Items Challenge is a sponsored “fashion fast” to raise funds for Labour Behind the Label Trust, a group that supports garment workers from around the world to secure a better future.

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