Madewell began its commitment to extending the lifecycle of clothing long ago with its "Blue Jeans Go Green" denim recycling program: When you donate any pair of jeans, you're given $20 off a new pair. (Could that then fuel unnecessary consumption? Sure, but few recycling/sustainability programs are perfect.) It also launched a fair-trade denim capsule earlier this year. Starting Monday, Madewell is taking that commitment to circularity a step further through a partnership with ThredUp, the massive secondhand online retailer.
They've collaborated on "The Madewell Archive," a collection of pre-owned jeans that Madewell sourced from Thredup. Each pair was hand-selected, washed and refurbished and, now, placed into select stores for sale for $50 a pair — quite a bit cheaper than a new pair of Madewell jeans, which are typically around $130. They'll be available in select stores in Austin, Chicago, Nashville and NYC starting on Oct. 14 and California starting on Nov.1.
"At Madewell, we're on a mission to create the longest, most sustainable lifespan for our denim, whether you're purchasing a new pair that are made through sustainable practices or recycling old ones through our longstanding denim recycling program," said Anne Crisafulli, head of merchandising at Madewell, in a statement.
"At ThredUp, our mission is to extend the life of clothes through resale," added Karen Clark, VP of partnerships at Thredup. "When a brand as loved as Madewell embraces secondhand, it says a lot about the evolution of fashion and the promise of a more circular future."
The news fittingly follows parent company J.Crew's recent announcement that Madewell is being spun off into its own company, which will be taken public with an IPO. As part of that process, the brand released a prospectus that majorly emphasizes the brand's commitment to sustainability.
Meanwhile, as Thredup has raised money and expanded, it's pursued a number of partnerships, including with Reformation and Cuyana, wherein Thredup essentially powers recycling programs for each brand: Shoppers receive or can print a Thredup shipping label, send in unwanted items and receive credit to use at that brand. More recently, it partnered with Macy's and J.C. Penney, both of which are selling used items from Thredup in their stores. Madewell marks the first brand to resell its own items via Thredup, but it's a model we could see becoming more common so long as the items aren't overly trendy and are, well, made well, so that they hold up — both qualities we should all be looking for in our clothing anyway to ensure it lasts.