On Monday, Levi's announced the creation of a buy-back and resale program called Levi's SecondHand, which will allow customers to buy pre-owned Levi's pieces directly from the brand for prices ranging from $30 to $100. They'll also be able to earn gift cards worth $15 to $25 toward future purchases by selling their old pieces back to their maker.
It's a move that makes sense on two levels: It allows the brand to recapture the thriving market for secondhand Levi's that already exists on platforms like Depop and in thrift stores and to meet the growing call for sustainability in a way that feels genuine.
"Repurposing and repairing clothes requires minimal additional energy input, no water and no dyes to make more jeans," Levi's CMO Jennifer Sey said, in a statement. "Buying a used pair of Levi's through SecondHand saves approximately 80% of the CO2 emissions and 700 grams of waste compared to buying a new pair of Levi's."
Those numbers came from Trove, the recommerce partner that Levi's is relying on to handle the logistics of resale, including cleaning, inventory and fulfillment. (In implementing a program like this, Levi's joins the ranks of Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and REI, all of which work with Trove on their take-back and resale programs.) It's hard to verify those figures independently, but the point remains: Buying secondhand is better for the environment than buying new.
For pieces that are too worn to be resold, Levi's is working with Renewcell, a company that recycles fibers from worn-out clothes into new ones. While recycling is "still a challenge" and Levi's claims that less than approximately 1% of the world's textile waste is recycled into new garments — meaning: reusing clothes, rather than recycling them, is still the most responsible option — the brand hopes that these emerging technologies will increase recyclability with time.
"Getting more use out of existing products is the single biggest move we can make toward a more circular and sustainable supply chain," Trove founder and CEO Andy Ruben said, in a press release.
To promote the launch of its SecondHand program, which launches officially on Tuesday, Levi's partnered with stylist Rachael Wang to photograph a handful of climate and sustainability advocates — including Dominique Drakeford and Whitney McGuire of Sustainable Brooklyn and youth climate activists Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Xiye Bastida — in addition to shooting imagery with brand ambassador Hailey Bieber. See some of those images in the gallery below, and prepare to check out the Levi's SecondHand shop here.