When Wear & Tear and Visible Repair Become Desirable for Clothing, Could It Mean Something for How People Perceive Reusables?
Reusable Packaging News has mainly been focused on B2B reusables, but with Loop getting major exposure in the news for its B2C reusables initiative, it got me thinking about some meetings I had in the Netherlands a few years ago and how Europe had been transitioning away from consumer reusables.
In a similar vein, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I recall reading about a major European brewer that was moving away from reusable glass bottles because customers didn’t like the scuff marks from multiple usage cycles – “wear and tear.” Market research told the beverage maker that its clientele preferred the sheen of new plastic bottles versus the battle-scarred veterans of beverages previously enjoyed. And maybe that is still the case. And perhaps it is true also for B2B reusable packaging. I’m not sure.
But what about clothing? The announcement below (and the related photo of repaired jeans at the top of the post) caught my eye this week and caused me to consider that if people are increasingly celebrating and bucking up for longlived clothing, maybe the same trend will also hold true for reusables. Could scuff marks be a badge of honor instead of a yuck factor for retail shoppers or manufacturing plant visitors?
It brought to mind this vintage “suitcase travel sticker” ad from Shuert Technologies for its Uni-Pallet.
But I digress.
Taylor Stitch, a men’s apparel company, has launched Restitch, an initiative it describes as a “bold take-back program that gives pre-loved clothing a second life.” Restitch, it says, closes the loop on the company’s innovative responsibility model and creates an easy solution to keep more clothes out of landfills.
To bring Restitch to life, Taylor Stitch partnered with Yerdle, makers of an end-to-end technology and logistics resale platform. To date, Yerdle has helped many brands, including industry leaders like Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, and REI, create meaningful resale programs to help advance the circular economy
“Restitch is our response to the clothing industry’s overproduction issue,” says Michael Maher, CEO and Co-Founder of Taylor Stitch. “85% of all apparel ends up in landfills, including what is donated. 100% has the ability to be recycled or upcycled. Through Restitch and our partnership with Yerdle, we prove there is no end of life, only end of use.”
The Restitch experience is quick and seamless. To begin, customers can download a shipping label online or visit a Taylor Stitch retail store to drop off their old wares. Once the items are received, customers earn Taylor Stitch credit they can put towards new items. At the same time, Yerdle works to reconstruct old products into fresh, one-of-a-kind garments to be resold at a fraction of the price.
To kick off the program, Taylor Stitch tapped its community and received nearly 1,500 garments across outerwear, denim, shirting, knits, footwear, and accessories to be rebuilt. From that first batch, the team carefully selected 42 pieces for its first ever Vintage Collection. Each item in the collection is a true diamond-in-the-rough, made from limited materials, and only found at Taylor Stitch.
“Resale is the biggest step any brand can take when it comes to fostering a more sustainable business,” said Yerdle CEO Andy Ruben. “Restitch is a powerful example of how a brand can embrace sustainability while simultaneously creating unique, coveted items for their customers.”
I’m not suggesting that old reusable packaging should be sent back for repair and then sold at a premium, but perhaps there are sustainability-related forces at play which will make well-loved reusable packaging more celebrated than it generally has been in recent years – a trend that would help promote the use of reusable packaging – both B2B and B2C – while boosting sustainability.