Facebook PixelA way to recycle/reuse unsold fashion clothes
Brainstorming
Brainstorming
Create newCreate new
EverythingEverything
Sessions onlySessions only
Ideas onlyIdeas only
Brainstorming session

A way to recycle/reuse unsold fashion clothes

Loading...
SW
S.J. Wolf Jul 31, 2021
Please leave the feedback on this session
Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

What do fashion companies do every season with unsold items? Some of that stock would ordinarily be burnt or destined for landfill to protect brand’s image and price integrity.
It is well known that H&M had burned 60 tons of new and unsold clothes since 2013 and that Richemont had destroyed about $563 million worth of watches in 2018.

Shoppers did not react well to this news. People vowed to boycott these brands because their lack of sustainability. This led France to announce last year that it would ban such bonfires on all consumer goods (worth €800m annually) by 2023. Designers need to find new ways of getting rid.

Talking with some general counsel of the main luxury and fashion groups during my university courses, they told me they haven't find yet a solution. It would be great for them to collaborate with companies which can allow them to reuse (in a circular way) these clothes, leathergoods, footwear, giving them a new value and a new possibility to exploit their economic potential.

I was wandering: how can these items be used? The issue is that the are usually printed/market with the brand's logo, so it's not easy to simply upcycle them because of the risk of trademark infringement.

Thanks everyone for any idea/proposal!


9
Creative contributions

Nice burial clothes

Loading...
Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 01, 2021
The surplus fashion clothes could be used to bury people in style.

Potential downsides:
  • I'm not sure if brands would want their clothes to be associated with burial
  • How to prevent the burial companies from taking/reselling the good pieces
  • People might want to bury their loved ones in their favorite clothes rather than something random/new
I guess there are still many people who have no loved ones and no one to really care what clothes they get buried in. In such cases, the burial company could send them off in style.
Please leave the feedback on this

Remodel to create other items

Loading...
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Aug 02, 2021
The excess clothes could be converted into bedsheets, carpets, bedspreads, sofa covers, curtains, wall hangings, etc.

There is a local guy I know who takes clothes that are torn or you want to throw away and makes beautiful carpets, curtains, bedspreads, and other things. He de-weaves the clothes and so, the condition of the cloth you give does not matter. He then uses dyes to color them differently. You can tell him not to color it and he makes a great mosaic colored (using original colors of the cloth) carpet. He charges a small fee for the remodeling work (about 1/20th the cost of a new original bedsheet, carpet, etc.), indicating that the remodeling need not be costly for the big brands.

The same can be done with excess clothes by the big brands.

Here is an example. Excess pairs of jeans could be converted to other using and/or decorative merchandise.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
MP
Mariah J Perrin3 months ago
Where is he?
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 months ago
Hi Mariah J Perrin ! The shop is in a city called Pune in India.
Please leave the feedback on this

Remove label and sell

Loading...
Diego Salamanca
Diego Salamanca Aug 04, 2021
To protect the brand, they could remove label, relabel the items and sell in a market with lower purchasing power.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
DE
D. Eagle3 months ago
Quite the contrary. On the face of it, removing labels doesn't protect the brands at all, but self-defeating and detrimental to intellectual property (IP) rights, if done by the brands themselves, which is very unwise and unlikely.

Where labels are removed by others, in effect, causing a material change to the product, for commercial purposes and without the permission of the brands, well, needless to say that it invokes a whole range of actionable IP rights infringement issues.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
SW
S.J. Wolf3 months ago
Unfortunately it's not just a matter of labels. Imagine a t-shirt with an all over monogram. It will be easily linked to the brand even if you remove the label. So, products have to be transformed in a way they are not related to the brands (e.g. because the brand does not manufacture that kind of items, such as camping tents). Furthermore the recuse of clothes needs to generate value for the fashion houses both in terms of sustainability and profits. I think that simply selling them on the secondary market would just harm the brand (in their perspective). Thx anyway for your contribution!
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 months ago
Some brands invest a lot of effort into making unique features that are not easy to counterfeit. I imagine those would be difficult to remove. Which means people could still identify them even with labels removed. I think it wouldn't be long before it became public knowledge that expensive brands are sold without labels on secondary markets.
Please leave the feedback on this

Regulated Secondary Market, Free of Anti-Competitive Abuses

Loading...
DE
D. Eagle Aug 03, 2021
The degree of social irresponsibility shown by these companies is quite astounding and frankly unacceptable in a modern society. It's a wasteful and senseless price-control mechanism, nothing to do with consumer rejection per se. Essentially, the companies destroy goods in order to avoid inflating supply and price reduction, as a result.
That said, in addition to the difficulty of an understandable brand dilution, de-weaving, unwittingly, seems counterproductive and defeats the very object of its own solution, as it creates the same very problem it tries to solve, (albeit a different approach).

It's the same wasteful destruction/repurposing of otherwise perfectly new/fit-for-purpose consumer items, together with associated energy-efficiency concerns.

The de-weaving route could be suitable for the tertiary market, which deals with recycling products that are no longer fit for purpose. In other words, they've come to the end of their useful life and considered real waste, a subject for discussion some other time, perhaps.

Alternative Solution

Meanwhile, in the context of the problem at hand, an alternative solution could be a regulated, but free secondary market with adequate legal protection against anti-competitive abuses by the primary market companies, in particular.

Segmentation

The proposed secondary market is segmented into pre-stock and pre-used (often wrongly referred to as "pre-owned", which ought to be a generic term, covering "pre-stock" and "pre-used"). However, these segments could be classified further into sub-segments according to category of goods (i.e. luxury, midrange, budget), addressing brand dilution.

Separation of Supply-chain From Distribution

The next step is to separate or exclude the major (primary market) brands from end-user distribution, as part of adequate package of measures to prevent anti-competitive abuses.

The brands should legally be required to form part of the supply-chain with the responsibility for holding their stocks openly available for distribution by approved specialist end-user distributors/retailers (small businesses), who will be at liberty to set their own pricing structure according to market forces.

This arrangement solves the problem of brand dilution. It also prevents the brands from controlling the secondary market/prices against the grain of anti-competition laws, if regulated properly. There is no reason why it should not apply to all retail sectors in principle and in practice.

Anti-competition

It is noted that the same offending primary market companies appear to be repositioning to control the secondary market, extending the sphere of their abusive conduct. This is demonstrated by Richemont's acquisition of Watchfinder, a major secondary market retailer, probably below the radar of the anti-competition authorities.

Such acquisitions are deemed anti-competitive in intent and ought to be prohibited.
Please leave the feedback on this

Remodel - change color, style, etc. and sell again

Loading...
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Aug 02, 2021
Why people did not buy a line of clothing is probably because they did not like it. The same clothes could be remodeled (colored differently or made a few style changes) and then sold again, hopefully making a better sale. This way the material does not go to waste. The remodeling costs are not high (they are about 1/20th of the original piece of clothing) and, hence, the new clothes need not be much costly.

For the redesign work, newbie designers could be employed to further reduce the cost of design expertise and also giving the newbies a chance to shine.

De-weaving and re-weaving is possible (I am not sure how accurate it is) but it is possible.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
MP
Mariah J Perrin3 months ago
Be responsible
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
SW
S.J. Wolf3 months ago
I'm looking for some de-weaving techniques, but I'm not currently able to find anything. It would be very interesting! Thanks for your contribution
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 months ago
S.J. Wolf The guy that I mentioned in the "remodel to create other items" uses a machine to de-weave clothes. I am not sure how the machine work since it is not located in his shop. But if I get a chance, I will ask him about it.
Please leave the feedback on this

Outlets and 2nd hand shops

Loading...
Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 02, 2021
I think that 2nd hand shops currently buy such clothes in bulk/bags by the kilo, without knowing what they are getting. The price is set based on the quality/brands in the bags.

Doing it this way:
  • the brands make at least some money
  • the clothes get sold to end-users by retailers who have alternative ways of reaching them (ebay, etsy, 2nd hand shops, etc)
  • ensure that their products do not saturate the market at low prices
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
SW
S.J. Wolf3 months ago
Thanks for your reply! When it comes to luxury brands it's quite rare that they sell unsold stocks to 2nd hand shops, just because by this way the diluite their brand. I think they don't want to loose control over their distribution. This can be an obstacle
Please leave the feedback on this

Auction the clothes off in 10-ton lots

Loading...
Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 05, 2021
The unsold stuff could be auctioned in 10-ton lots. That way they make sure that whoever buys the goods pays a hefty price and does it for business/distribution purposes. The buyer would likely be looking to flip the clothes for a profit. The end buyers may end up paying just a little below the market price which doesn't harm the brands that much.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
DE
D. Eagle3 months ago
The slight problem with auctioning off explicitly as "unsold stock", especially in large quantities is that it portrays a negative image of the brands with associated negative impact on highly protected brand affinity.

However, quiet auctioning (possibly to approved secondary-market wholesalers and/or retailers) as "pre-season stock" or "pre-range stock" in the realm of the manner you've decribed gives a progressive and less negative impression, which might be more palatable to the brands.
Please leave the feedback on this

Give clothes to micro influencers

Loading...
SW
S.J. Wolf Aug 05, 2021
I was wondering, reading all your comments and issues related to the reuse/resale: what about giving these unsold clothes/accessories to influencers with a little number of followers? They are not considered by the brands because they have not the power to influence so many people. But actually, if accurately chosen by a specialized agency, they can give resonance and new value to less known products, promoting also the "sustainability" of the companies. So, yes it will be a secondary but elitist market. My concern is: would the brand want to be associated with these small influencer, not under contract with them but controlled by a third party? What if the influencer's bad reputation causes a damage to the brand image?

Is it stupid? I like to have a constructive dialogue with you
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
DE
D. Eagle3 months ago
Far from it, nothing's ever stupid in a creative space. You actually raised a good point.

Well, audience quality, not numbers is key to the brands. A few hundred high-quality audience within the target demographics is far more valuable to the brands than millions of followers outside their demographics. The major brands do engage with influencers covertly at arms length, as part of their brand damage limitation strategy.

In this context, where a brand has a secondary-market partner (retailer), it's unlikely that it’ll encourage a direct engagement with any influencer for these main reasons: (1) focus of resources on current primary stock and promoting secondary stock is counterintuitive, with real risk of shifting demand away from primary stock; (2) brands perceive this area as sensitive and would be extra cautious about the volatility of internet exposure.

I sense that any influencer approach to the brands won’t be discouraged outright, but quietly referred to secondary retailers, possibly through an intermediary, to maintain an arms-length relationship. If contact between a secondary retailer and the influencer is established and there’s an overlap of interests, any further discussion would be subject to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)/confidential disclosure agreement (CDA).

For a test marketing, the "custody of an item could be conferred" on (in practice, gifted to) the influencer by the secondary retailer, according to the terms of the NDA/CDA. For instance, the influencer could market the item as an "accidental wardrobe find of an old favourite - bought many years ago”. In this way, any reputational mishap would have an inconsequential or no detrimental effect on the brand (just a minor matter of sharing the experience of a cherished personal item).

So, it’s doable regardless of the influencer’s sphere of influence/audience. As mentioned earlier, what’s important here is the quality of the audience to the brand. There’s an opportunity for an influencer with an attractive audience to partner with the brand's secondary retailer, if any. If not, a direct lucrative arrangement with the brand isn’t impossible, subject to NDA/CDA.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 months ago
I'm not sure how scalable this would be in the volume of distribution, but small influencers could reward the clothes to their followers in giveaways. People would be asked to perform some simple actions to earn the goods. This portrays the brands as valuable while at the same time it serves as advertisement and gets rid of the surplus. The influencer increases their presence and strengthens the connection with the followers.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 months ago
I think that is an idea. Definitely, not stupid. This could be a business plan for the big brands. Influencers could be their "online shops". The brands pay a commission to the shop owners to display the branded items. Then they spend money on advertising so that people go and buy them. The influencers, on the other hand, advertise the stuff themselves. The brands could pay them commission proportionate to the sale they make. The sale could be measured in terms of the number of followers of the influencers buying something from the brand (or some more accurate measure of it). The big brands do not need to worry about an influencer's bad reputation since one small bad influencer wouldn't do much damage. There will always be several other good influencers. Also, a bad influencer can be removed from the plan (this could be in their contract).

The idea is also good in the sense that the advertising will be more targeted and reach people who are really interested and would be more likely to buy it compared to the traditional advertising and sale. Delivery is not a problem anymore. Any logistics partner would be eager to help out.
Please leave the feedback on this

Donate them to underprivileged individuals through soup kitchens, shelters and crisis centres

Loading...
salemandreus
salemandreus Aug 08, 2021
Since they were planning to burn them anyway due to it not being worth the logistical and legal costs to try profit from them they might as well make sure they rather go to people in need as a way to rather do some good in the world, which then also takes care of the ownership and other legalities of selling them. Possibly the stores, manufacturers, and distributors could even claim some of the value from those donations back as tax to incentivize doing their part to help alleviate global poverty. This would of course also be an opportunity for brands to showcase their "social good" presence on social media, as the same way people are inclined to boycott harmful or exploitative business practices they are also more likely to support manufacturers and brands that actively support social good.

Poverty is a global problem with some countries being hit particularly hard by it and even sleeping on the street, on park benches, or in makeshift homes that barely withstand poor weather. With people barely able to afford food and shelter many rely on castoff clothes. Clothing of all types is useful for accommodating different weathers and simply to restore dignity for people who can't afford to feed their children let alone buy new clothes. Clothing could be dropped off in donation bins at soup kitchens as a way for people seeking food to also get access to other basic necessities at the same place, which could make the logistics of distribution to homeless people easier.

There are also plenty of shelters needing clothing for people who are impoverished, children, victims who have had to flee domestic abuse and general violence, refugees, LGBTQIA+ people disowned by their families (and other groups less safe in conventional shelters who might need their own safe place), and others. I know of a shelter which even patches up worn clothing in very stylish ways and sells it with other unused donations at their own weekly flea market to help raise funds for the shelter's running costs.

Fashion items can offer some particular benefits:

1) Empowerment: It can be really empowering for someone who is poor to receive new clothes or for them and their children or to actually be able to pick out what clothes they want to wear, as clothing is a strong tool for self expression , and find other people like them (similarly to how various styles have become associated with different subcultures such as goth/emo, and how many styles have become a shorthand for members of communities within the LGBTQIA+ community to be visible to each other in building community even when often having to hide their identities publicly) and it can really restore a sense of purpose and self worth to be able to feel attractive or stylish despite one's immense hardships.

2) Opportunity: "Respectable" clothing also greatly changes the opportunities someone is given, it makes a huge difference to job interviews and also people's everyday willingness to hire or assist someone as is demonstrated in this social experiment video of a child actress pretending to be an abandoned girl, showing the stark difference in people's reactions towards her depending whether she was dressed in "rich" or "poor" clothing.

3) Wellbeing and safety from expected cultural or social assimilation: It can also help someone feel immensely more comfortable wearing clothing that adequately represent who they are or are expected to present within their culture. It can be a way to express one's religious and cultural beliefs. and even contribute to their safety in being read correctly as their gender in social spaces. Transgender people in disproportionately high numbers become homeless and impoverished due to families disowning them when they come out, and rely on support resources or can end up in shelters. Being able to wear clothing that they feel comfortable in can greatly alleviate the traumatic experience of dysphoria, to decrease suicidality and also generally contribute to better wellbeing and sense of safety and security for the person.
Please leave the feedback on this
Loading...
DE
D. Eagle2 months ago
Salemandreus, valid and shared sentiments; unfortunately, simply donating as suggested worsens, rather than solves the problem, albeit well-inteded.

In the same way as oversupplying food to starved people is dangerous and could kill them; or simply offering permanent accommodation and jobs to long-term homeless people or ex-prisoners and expect them to get on with life, could worsen their mental health and cause them to revert to a “safer” homeless or prison environment.

The common thread running through these circumstances is that human systems (biological and neurological) conform to the external environment, for survival - an evolutionary trait of all living organisms. So, helping effectively involves a complex gradual process with dedicated support systems. The point here is that these issues deserve an objective thinking in the round.

Problem With Simply Donating

In this case, there’s a pivotal factor that must not be ignored: the fallibility of human nature. Like the scenarios cited above, simply donating to those in need could result in endangering and subjecting them to unscrupulous exploitation.

Besides the complex logistics of donating/distribution (from brands to end-users), there’s an issue of oversupply and a whole range of problems it brings. Excess lesser valued items could be discarded and expensive branded ones sold off for much needed cash.

Inevitably, this would lead to the emergence of exploitative local dealers, who would eventually take advantage of the very vulnerable people in need to control uninterrupted access to free valuable supply and leverage brand quality to sell the items at very high prices.

Put shortly, the end game is an uncontrolled exploitation of vulnerable people and lucrative black market - an understandable nightmare scenario for the brands and society in general.

Common Goal Towards Sustainable Solutions

It’s generally accepted that the brands’ motive is not entirely unreasonable in principle, namely, unleashing the power of economics (demand and supply) to preserve brand value (intellectual property). This is achieved by removing excess products from circulation, to prevent over supply; maintain high demand and preserve brand value.

Nevertheless, there's also a common acceptance that the approach is reprehensible and a manifestation of misguided capitalism.

This has given rise to the proposed solutions here in a common attempt to find structured sustainable solutions to the problem in question and your contribution raises a valid balance to this effort.

Alternative Solution

Your suggestion could, in fact, be streamlined and structured as indirect (not direct) donation in two ways. First, as part of their partnership agreements with secondary-market partners (retailers/distributors), brands could require their secondary partners to contribute an agreed portion of their profit to a capital fund, in exchange for attractive distribution deals.

The fund could be managed by the brands themselves, in conjunction with local community groups and other stakeholders. It could then be used to support small community voluntary groups, actually helping people in need on the ground (not the large corporate charity organisations or NGOs).

Second, some clothes and other items could be donated to community-operated household banks (like food banks), who distribute the products to those in genuine need.

Overall, this approach provides effective and sustainable social solution, brand affinity and a better society.
Please leave the feedback on this

Add your creative contribution

0 / 200

Added via the text editor

Sign up or

or

Guest sign up

* Indicates a required field

By using this platform you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

General comments