Business of Fashion, Uncategorized Blawg Post

Madewell Archive Program, a Good Model for Sustainability?

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Madewell is turning its blue jeans green

Through the Madewell Archive Program, you can now buy used jeans for $50 at Madewell instead of $20 at Thredup. 😏 #SustainableFashion

Madewell Archive Program pieces are hand-selected from Thredup’s inventory by Madewell’s denim experts. The jeans are refurbished and sold at select Madewell stores.

Fun fashion law disclaimers should have accompanied this release because some of Madewell’s jeans boast magic slimming technology that might lose power through poor laundering.

Compared to RE/DONE Levis denim, these pre-loved Madewell jeans are a bargain.

The Madewell Archive Program isn’t Madewell’s only fashion recycle program

Madewell already exchanges any pair of jeans for $20 credit towards a pair of new jeans. This initiative is available at Madewell stores via the Blue Jeans Go Green program.* Unfortunately, Madewell won’t apply this $20 credit cannot be used for Madewell Archive Program denim. 😞 But you can apply it to my high rise favorites (currently on sale here).

The lower cost of the archive pieces can foster a younger customer base that is price and eco conscious, just as Patagonia’s Worn Wear collection did.

The Madewell Archive program debuted at select stores in Austin, Chicago, NY, and LA.

If limited as a store offering, the Madewell Archive Program can be a good way to get foot traction, which is critical since stores should provide experiences that customers cannot get online. As with thrifting, the archive can offer the thrill of a hunt and style surprise.

Will sustainability programs like this one fuel fashion resale or defeat it?

Extending the life of a garment and combatting fashion waste might not fuel apparel resale but it is in line with the modern fashion revolution.

According to a ThredUp study, over the past three years, the re-commerce category has grown 21 faster than the first-hand retail apparel market. So, Madewell’s choice to double-down on sustainability is a great business decision.

As part of Madewell’s upcoming IPO, the company released a prospectus that majorly emphasizes the brand’s commitment to sustainability, so I’m excited to see the brand’s take on greener fashion.

* The Blue Jeans Go Green program turns jeans into housing insulation.

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