ThredUp wants to turn shoppers into conscious consumers, one purchase at a time.
A starting point is ThredUp x Olivia Wilde x Conscious Commerce’s Choose Used, a collection of 4,000 T-shirts, sweatshirts and denim jackets, redesigned with a retro screen-printed design, launching today. With phrases such as “Used Goods” and “I Wear Used Clothes,” consumers wear their sustainability on their sleeves and across their chests.
ThredUp, which has upcycled 65 million items to date, believes that every time a used item is worn, the stigma of secondhand is broken down and more consumers are inspired to fight fashion waste.
Wilde with Barbara (Babs) Burchfield founded Conscious Commerce as a response to non-sustainable fund-raising efforts. The organization creates dynamic campaigns and experiences that connect nonprofit foundations to sustainable business models. Conscious Commerce also works with global brands to integrate social consciousness into existing business models.
“Working with Olivia was a no brainer because of her passion for circular fashion,” said Jenna Bray, ThredUp senior brand director. “The mission Olivia and Babs created for Conscious Commerce is so aligned with our mission.”
All of the items in the collection were “cleared out from fashionable closets and sent to our warehouse, where we customized them with designs that put a fine point on the problem at hand,” Bray said. “We created designs that are stunning and also celebrate the mission. Olivia is a really big fan of vintage and that’s what inspired a lot of the design. It’s got a very bad rocker vibe.”
Bray said the partnership with Wilde and Burchfield was “a hand-in-hand collaboration. They’ve been involved in the design process. We did a huge photo shoot and worked with Olivia’s stylist, Karla Welch, who’s known for styling Justin Bieber, among others. Olivia is excited to tell the story on her social media channels.”
“We found design inspiration for the Choose Used collection with ThredUp in our favorite, perfectly broken-in vintage Ts,” said Wilde and Burchfield. “Our aim was to make the designs uplifting because the decision to choose used should be a straightforward and gratifying one.”
Prices for the collection range from $8 to $159. A percentage of the net proceeds from each item will be earmarked for the Circular Fashion Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to supporting sustainable fashion efforts worldwide. When consumers share why they chose used on Instagram, ThredUp will donate $1 to the foundation. To spread the word, starting on Earth Day, anyone who buys a used item from ThredUp will get an enamel pin that says, Choose Used.
The facts surrounding apparel production and consumption aren’t pretty. Producing clothing emits harmful chemicals and fabrics aren’t always biodegradable. About 64 percent of apparel ends up in landfills. Buying used clothing extends the life of garments and reduces an item’s carbon footprint by 82 percent.
Secondhand apparel is a $24 billion industry, projected to double in five years. Twenty percent of consumers bought used apparel last year. Gen Z is leading the charge with one-third of the cohort expected to buy used this year. If everyone in the U.S. bought one used rather than new item in 2019, nearly 6 billion pounds of carbon emissions would be saved, the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road for one year, ThredUp said.