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The Next Economy
Levi’s, thredUP Fuel Growing Momentum Behind Secondhand Fashion

The launch of the Levi’s Secondhand marketplace and the rebrand of thredUP reflect growing consumer support of a circular economy and pride in wearing used clothes.

thredUP rebrand reflects growing consumer ‘shift to thrift’

Image credit: thredUP

Today, online fashion consignment marketplace thredUP launches a rebrand that reflects a new generation of thrifters who are proud to wear used clothing. The new brand celebrates the growing ‘shift to thrift;’ and pays tribute to thredUP’s customers, who are creating a more sustainable future for fashion.

“In the early days of thredUP, our goal was to convert skeptics. Our brand was designed to shake up preconceptions about secondhand and build trust,” said Anthony Marino, thredUP’s President. “Today, we have less convincing to do. Skeptics have become fans and advocates. Stigma has been replaced by pride. We have a new opportunity to create a brand that is authentically and unapologetically thrift.” 

Founded in 2009, thredUP set out to modernize and de-stigmatize thrift, with the goal of making used clothes the new normal — at a time when shopping secondhand was still looked down upon. The company designed a modern resale experience that took the work and risk out of thrift, and converted a generation of secondhand skeptics to fans. Sellers send clothes directly to thredUP by the bagful, and buyers shop quality-checked items from over 35,000 brands at steep discounts.

A decade later, thredUP says the secondhand stigma has nearly dissolved and millions of consumers are thrifting like never before. Secondhand is estimated to be a $28 billion market (as of 2019) and growing fast, with 70 percent of consumers saying they are open to buying secondhand products. Roughly 2 in 3 consumers say they see no stigma in wearing used clothing, and most are actually proud to buy it. This is especially true of Gen Z — the largest consumer cohort globally, as of 2019; and the generation that’s looking to brands to help create a ‘radically better future’ — these conscientious shoppers see thrift as a way to broadcast their sustainable values to the world.

thredUP’s new brand is inspired by the confidence the company has seen among its customers who shop with intention, flaunt their thriftiness, and seek to influence others — exemplifying the brand’s new tagline, “Thrift Loudly.” The brand strategy is rooted in the accelerating conscious consumption, fueled by a belief that the clothes we wear have the power to create change. Patterns that convey circularity are a nod to thredUP’s mission of giving new life to used clothes, keeping garments in use and out of landfill.

With over 35,000 brands, thredUP is for everyone — and the brand and launch campaign aim to convey the inclusivity of thrift; and the fact that secondhand democratizes sustainability, as well as luxury. 

Levi’s® SecondHand platform launches in the US

L-R: Xiye Bastida, Dominique Drakeford, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Whitney R. McGuire | Images credit: Rachael Wang/Levi's Secondhand

thredUP’s relaunch follows the launch earlier this week of Levi’s® SecondHand in the US — part of Levi Strauss’ larger commitment to making fashion sustainable and circular. This marks the first-of-its-kind buy-back program for a global denim brand; it enables customers to purchase secondhand jeans and jackets on, while also allowing them to bring their worn jeans and jackets into Levi’s stores for a gift card towards a future purchase.

Levi’s Secondhand will offer users $15-25 for denim that can be resold and $30-35 for vintage denim — even if your Levi’s denim is too worn out, customers can still receive $5 towards a future purchase. All of these SecondHand items will then be available on the SecondHand marketplace at reduced prices, making Levi’s items accessible to a wider base of consumers. The brand is aiming to make SecondHand denim second nature, in the hopes that it will inspire more denim labels to introduce a similar offering.

“Repurposing and repairing clothes requires minimal additional energy input, no water, and no dyes to make more jeans. Buying a used pair of Levi’s through SecondHand saves approximately 80 percent of the CO2 emissions and 700 grams of waste compared to buying a new pair of Levi’s,” says Jennifer Sey, Levi’s Chief Marketing Officer.

For the SecondHand campaign, Levi’s sought out an impressive list of names in the environmental movement as models — Xiye Bastida, an 18-year-old Mexican-Chilean climate activist who’s been called “America’s Greta Thunberg”; Dominique Drakeford, environmental educator, community advocate, co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, and founder and editor of Melanin & Sustainable Style (MelaninASS); Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, hip-hop artist and youth director of Earth Guardians; and Whitney R. McGuire, attorney, business consultant, and co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn.

Levi Strauss says that encouraging consumers to look at secondhand with a new lens is essential because the fashion industry is continuing to produce an unprecedented number of garments every year. And recycling rates are still low: Just 1 percent of the world’s textile waste is recycled into new garments. Levi’s garments are traditionally built to last; and the brand has long encouraged customers to ensure the longevity of their items by washing them less. The company has also ventured into truly circular fashion with its recent Wellthread™ Recycled Denim collection — launched in July, in addition to giving previously loved Levi’s jeans and jackets a second life through the SecondHand platform.

Levi Strauss has partnered with recommerce technology and logistics company Trove (fka Yerdle) to handle the backend operations of the Levi’s SecondHand resale platform — including cleaning, inventory processing and fulfillment.