TWICE AS NICE: With the launch of The North Face’s Renewed, Patagonia now has a rival competitor selling refurbished apparel.
While this initiative is a pilot program, The North Face, a $3.7 billion juggernaut, could potentially lead the charge in renewed garments. Regardless of how they fare in this emerging sector, The North Face, a VF Corp.-owned brand, is the largest apparel company to get on board with selling renewed apparel. The company has joined forces with The Renewal Workshop, an Oregon-based operation that takes discarded apparel and textiles and restores them into renewed apparel, upcycled materials or recycled feedstock. All of the North Face’s Renewed items are sourced from returned, defective or damaged apparel.
Online shoppers at TheNorthFace Renewed site, will be clued into the fact that 85 percent of textiles produced annually wind up in landfills annually, according to an Environmental Protection Agency-confirmed statistic. To help consumers “shift from a traditional, linear model to a circular one where people share, resell, repair and recycle clothing,” the site simplifies how the process works. First, the gear is cleaned and inspected by The Renewal Workshop. Step two: The items are repaired, zippers replaced or tears sewn up. Then The North Face does its own quality evaluation before making the items available for shoppers.
James Rogers, director of sustainability for The North Face, said, “As we address the impacts of our products over their entire life cycle, re-commerce is an important next step in opening new markets and minimizing our impact on the planet. We are furthering our sustainability goals without sacrificing durability or technical standards. Ultimately, as we work to scale Renewed, we will be proving a larger, circular model for the industry.”
As part of its plan to be more of a consumer-facing business, VF is focused on selling directly to consumers and investing in digital platforms.
Renewed products have a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects in material and workmanship. That does not extend to an unauthorized dealer or seller. As of Thursday morning, women’s options included the refurbished Adventuress Racerback tank at $26, Osito 2 jacket for $64, the Freeski Techn-O hoodie pullover for $83 and the Laney Trench II at $98. Men’s options were the Tech Glacier pullover at $26, Bragdon reversible jacket at $98 and Apex Risor hoodie at $117.
In addition to The North Face, The Renewal Workshop works with an assortment of brands including Ibex, Prana, Icebreaker, Pearl Izumi and Mountain Khakis. It collects data on everything that flows through its system, and then that information is given to brand partners to help them improve production and design of future products.
Patagonia, a company nearing $1 billion in sales, first got into the area in 2011 through its Common Threads program. That has since evolved into the Worn Wear, program that promotes repairing, reusing and recycling. An e-commerce platform, Wornwear.com, was launched in April 2017. The program also includes tours in North America, Europe, Chile, South Korea and Japan that have reached more than 120,000 people, according to a Patagonia spokeswoman.