The RealReal is expanding its flair for used goods with an upcycled line, called “ReCollection,” dropping next month.
The April 1 launch of ReCollection 01 will have approximately 50 pieces across styles. These one-of-a-kind designs are made from items donated by luxury brand partners. ReCollection 02 will launch in late April and focus solely on upcycled loungewear.
While collection details still remain under wraps, ReCollection boasts eight luxury partners at launch including A-Cold-Wall, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Jacquemus, Simone Rocha, Stella McCartney, Ulla Johnson and Zero + Maria Cornejo.
For a decade, The RealReal has been serving up designer resale to a community of 21 million members. The next logical step was to address the mounting problem — unsellable goods — in an experimental way.
“Really, ReCollection is just an extension of the efforts we’ve already done,” said James Rogers, director of sustainability at The RealReal. “This is just the beginning. What we think this will look like going forward, we will be planning to build out a library for other designers, so any of the scraps or leftovers from this initial collection will be held onto and turned into part of that library. As we make more ReCollections going forward, they can be used and kept out of the landfill — so really [we’re] thinking about building a repository that is specifically focused on upscaling initiatives.”
Certain “sustainable” criteria inform the ReCollection program, including that pieces must have no virgin fabrications, be zero-waste and the labor behind it must be fair wage and sourced in the U.S. For this, The RealReal is partnering with Atelier & Repairs, an upcycling and repair shop based in Los Angeles for the first collection.
Designers like Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall and Stella McCartney believe there is a prerogative to tackle fashion’s waste problem and that upcycling is the new norm.
“It’s the right action to take. In light of the immediate revisions facing fashion, the concept of reconstituting, revising and reinventing garment was, and is, an essential activity — it’s here to stay and should be embraced,” said Ross.
McCartney thinks the biggest compliment for her designs is to have an afterlife. “To me, that is luxury…This is one way the industry can tackle its enormous waste problem. We see the world crying out for change with the younger generation standing up. My dream is that we come together as an industry to achieve sustainable change to help build a better future.”
This won’t be the first time the company has worked with brands as in an aim to give back. Upcycling projects — sourced from The RealReal — have already graced the runway for designers Collina Strada and Imitation of Christ. The company has also put on public sales with designers like Phillip Lim, as a solution to excess stock.
As in past collaborations like the company’s partnership with Gucci, The RealReal will partner with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every ReCollection item sold. Brands are not involved with the ReCollection design process and receive no commission from sales.
The RealReal has hopes for ReCollection to expand this year, bringing on new brand partners, trialing new verticals and engaging experimental drops.
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