Madewell just made a fully circular concept store with ThredUp.
Beginning today through Oct. 31, consumers can shop pre-loved Madewell in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., at “A Circular Store” concept shop. The store — which stocks jeans, shorts, dresses, shirts, T-shirts, tanks and outerwear — takes over the second floor of the Madewell men’s store. Merchandise is free of tags (to help cut down on waste) and women’s and men’s items are priced in bulk based on ThredUp’s average resale prices for Madewell goods, ranging from $10 for T-shirts to $40 for jeans.
“We designed the store experience with shareability in mind. Our goal with this initiative first and foremost was to spread the word on the importance of circularity and the power of making clothes that last. With the help of social media, the experience can transcend this physical retail space and inspire those who aren’t able to experience it live to shop or sell secondhand,” said Derek Yarbrough, chief marketing officer of J. Crew Group, which owns Madewell.
Given that an estimated 36 billion apparel items end up in landfills every year, the store is meant to educate shoppers as they circumnavigate the space. Featuring three low-lying modular display tables and a fitting room area dipped in the Instagram aesthetic of pastel blue curtains with a checkered rug and a chunky armchair afoot — the space is designed for photo ops, too.
Complete with an expertly staffed mending shop (free to use on Saturdays on any item in your closet) and QR codes throughout — shoppers can peruse the benefits of wearing secondhand, repairing and mending goods. Mending just one item saves 19 pounds of carbon annually, according to ThredUp’s fashion footprint calculator.
Clean-out kits are also displayed in minimal envelopes on-site for shoppers to take and rid themselves of lesser-worn goods. Even the tote bags, which are leftover deadstock from Madewell, are cobranded for the store. After the concept store closes, the brands will review learnings to decide whether to scale efforts. All merchandising racks and tables will be repurposed in the store.
Erin Wallace, vice president of integrated marketing at ThredUp, echoed Yarbrough’s sentiment, saying the store is a “shared vision of what the future of fashion can look like if we collectively embrace reuse.”
While the vision is in operation, upcycling and repair workshops will be held in the space with Patagonia’s Worn Wear team and local designers.
On the interactive messaging on secondhand, Wallace emphasized that “a key element of this store is that it’s built to be a sharable and aesthetically pleasing experience. We want visitors to enjoy their time in the space, to rethink their concept of how to buy, wear and care for clothes, and to share with friends. The more conversation we can drive around secondhand and the need to extend the life of clothes, the more positive impact we can have on the fashion industry at large.”