Madewell is expanding its “Madewell Forever” resale program from jeans to sweaters, tops, jackets, dresses, shorts and bags.
The growth of the program, less than a year after the launch of Madewell Forever, is just in time for Earth Day, which is Friday. The resale platform is powered by ThredUp, the online consignment shop for buying and selling used clothes.
According to 2021 Thredup research, the secondhand market is projected to reaching $77 billion in 2025 from $36 billion in 2021. The research also indicates that more than 118 million people are expected to purge their closets on resale platforms in the coming years, and that as of last year, the estimated number of clothing items that are hardly worn or sitting idle in consumers’ closets was 9 billion.
To support the growth of its resale program, Madewell launched a new campaign featuring TikTok influencers Morgan, Zahra and Flynn. They will also part of the initial Madewell launch.
“When we first launched Madewell Forever, we started with denim because it is the core of the Madewell brand, but by entering into additional product categories, we are able to double down on our promise to create a more circular future for the retail industry,” Liz Hershfield, senior vice president and head of sustainability at J. Crew Group and senior vice president of sourcing at Madewell, which is part of the J. Crew Group.
“It is inspiring to see the retail industry’s focus on circularity continue to grow and all of the collaboration that takes place to make that critical shift happen,” Hershfield said. “At Madewell, we are committed to creating quality, sustainable products that are made to stand the test of time. Our resale program allows us to give those products a second, third, fourth life wherever possible.”
Madewell’s resale program dates back to 2019, when the brand formed a pilot program with ThredUp, which was called Madewell Archive. Essentially this involved the Madewell team shopping ThredUp for a relatively small amount of pre-owned Madewell jeans and reselling them for $50 a pair, at just a handful of Madewell stores.
Madewell Forever took the program one step further, enabling customers to bring their pre-worn denim to Madewell stores, from any brand or style in exchange for a $20 credit toward a full-priced pair of Madewell jeans. The collected items were then sent to ThredUp, which sorts the inventory to determine what can be re-sold based on the condition of the garment.
Madewell women’s denim that was in decent enough condition would get resold on the Madewell Forever micro-site on madewell.com, and in select stores, and the non-Madewell denim that was up to the required standards would get resold on ThredUp’s site. Any denim deemed unsellable gets recycled through approved programs like Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green, to be used for housing insulation.