Rebecca Taylor is taking another step in the circular economy.
The company is introducing ReCollect, a program that repurposes, recycles and resells pre-owned Rebecca Taylor clothing. ReCollect allows customers to trade in their gently worn Rebecca Taylor clothing for a $15 credit per item that can be redeemed at all Rebecca Taylor boutiques and its e-commerce site.
Recycled items are sorted to determine if they can be repaired, cleaned and resold. Items not up for resale standards will be sent to HELPSY’s recycled and upcycled programs. After selecting slightly worn and vintage pieces, they will be divided into edited drops to be resold on Rebecca Taylor’s web site under ReCollect.
Janice Sullivan, brand president of Rebecca Taylor, said, “At Rebecca Taylor, we are enthusiastic about embracing new ways of reaching our customer as we were one of the first brands to launch our own rental program. Rebecca Taylor ReCollect will allow us to open another door to a potential new and aspirational customer as well as offer timeless style to our existing consumer.”
Sullivan said that repair is not the main focus, but they’ll be able to do small repairs like fix zippers or missing buttons.
“There’s a whole resale community out there,” said Sullivan. “People are selling Rebecca Taylor clothes, they’re selling everyone’s clothes, offline and in their own ways.”
Industry experts have predicted that the total resale market’s value will more than double — from $24 billion in 2018 to $51 billion by 2023.
To begin the ReCollect journey, Rebecca Taylor will alert customers to the collection process in the company’s six brick-and-mortar stores and online on Sept. 27, while it simultaneously builds out the e-commerce site for ReCollect, which is expected to launch Dec. 15. There will be a navigation bar on the Rebecca Taylor web site for ReCollect.
There are no plans to have ReCollect areas in their freestanding retail stores. “Not yet, but you never know,” said Sullivan. “It could be very interesting, but we’re just starting step by step. This is something new for the brand, and I really feel it was a next step for us.”
Once a customer drops off the item at a store, they’ll get a gift card for $15, which they can use immediately on new Rebecca Taylor clothes, or they can wait and spend it on the ReCollect web site.
On the site, ReCollect will be sold by classification. For example, dresses will be $85 to $175; blouses are $50 to $85, and jackets are $115 to $145. There will also be outerwear.
Right now, they’re in the collection phase, and they’re asking people to bring in their clothes, said Sullivan. They have a studio in their Madison Avenue store where after dry cleaning and treating the clothes, they will photograph it.
Rebecca Taylor plans to donate 50 percent of retail proceeds from ReCollect to Cool Effect, an organization that focuses on reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change through high-quality reduction projects around the globe. Specifically, Taylor will be donating funds to help families build biogas digesters and clean cookstoves which will help transform harmful global warming emissions into clean, renewable energy in China. Cool Effect has reduced over 1 million tonnes of carbon in less than four years.
Meantime, Sullivan said that the company’s rental program, called Rebecca Taylor RNTD, is doing well. “We’re right on target to meet our plan, and we feel good. We’ve had a lot of learning from it,” she said.
The company has been pursuing internal initiatives to become more environmentally conscious by converting to Better Cotton Initiative cotton in its core suiting fabric for Tailored Rebecca Taylor. The brand uses organic yarns and fabrics whenever possible. For spring 2020, the company converted to biodegradable poly bags and recycled hangers as an effort to make progress in fashion’s carbon footprint. Rebecca Taylor will be working with Eco Laundry, an eco-friendly dry cleaner, for the cleaning of all garments for ReCollect.
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