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The Reality of Clothes Resale

11 Oct 2022

reality of resale

We love takeback and resale, and we’re the first people to tell you that both are important pillars in the blueprint for a more sustainable fashion future.

More and more brands are recognising the need to take more responsibility over what happens to the clothes they’ve sold, and they’re turning to collaborators like Reskinned to support their customers in sustainably passing on or recycling their used clothes. We can get a takeback up and running for a business in a matter of weeks. You might think that we resell everything that we get back through takeback, but that’s not always the case. Let’s bust some myths and explore the reality of resale.

Myth 1: All clothes that we get through takeback are good enough for resale.

Clothes Resale Reality: Only 40-50% of clothing we take back is good enough for resale.

We’d love to say that everything that we get back makes the grade for resale, but we’d be telling a lie. A premium womenswear brand might see 70% of clothing suitable for resale but the reality of takeback for old sportswear (for example) is that these clothes are (more often than not) destined for recycling.

We don’t think that’s a bad thing. We believe that to run an ‘honest’ takeback programme, brands have to accept returns in all conditions. Some won’t be good enough for resale on our platform, but can be rehomed elsewhere or upcycled into something new. About 30% of clothes will have hit the end of the road. We believe that clothes that need recycling have been truly loved and worn, which is great from a sustainability point of view.

If we’re truly passionate about building a more sustainable fashion future, we’ve got to take responsibility for the clothes we’ve put out there, no matter if they can’t be worn again.

Myth 2: All takeback clothes that are good enough for resale can successfully be sold back to a brand’s customers.

Clothes Resale Reality:

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: only 40-50% of clothing we take back is good enough for resale. So what happens to the rest?

At Reskinned we always prioritise reuse over recycling. Some items might be a bit out of shape or they don’t make the Reskinned grade. Following the proximity principle, we’ll try and rehome them in the UK. If not, we only export great condition fully wearable clothing overseas to trusted partners we’ve worked with for over 20 years - this accounts for a further 30% of a brand’s takeback.

We've also been involved in upcycling initiatives and we work closely with brands to find new ways to repurpose items that are really past it. 

The worst of the worst will be recycled responsibly. 0% to landfill (obviously).

Myth 3: Only a few clothes we take back will need to be recycled.

Clothes Resale Reality:

On average, 30% of clothes we take back have to be recycled.

When you've been in the textile recycling industry for over 20 years, you learn a thing or two. At Reskinned we look to maximise the value of every item we recycle. We’ve been actively involved in fibre to fibre for a while now and alongside our sister co recycle more than 150 tonnes of textiles every week in the UK.

We’re leading the way for people and brands to find new homes for clothes that are less loved. We have our own recycling facilities which make us unique as a takeback partner. Reskinned work with brands to find new ways to turn end of life stuff into something useful through “mechanical recycling”- basically downcycling items into stuffing that can be used in other products. We like to keep things relevant to the brand: your old Sweaty Betty leggings might be used to fill a punching bag.

Our biggest goal is to create more options for circularity closer to home. Reskinned are exploring ways to turn old fabrics into new ones through tech investment. We’ve partnered with the people who can do this already, and we support development with the people pushing the boundaries who have not quite got there yet. End of life clothes can be turned into new fabrics through “chemical recycling” and we’re one of the only platforms offering this in the UK.

Nothing goes to landfill. Ever.

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