Burberry forges resale partnership in bid to ‘make fashion circular’

Burberry believes that keeping its products in use longer will play a key role in reducing its end-to-end carbon emissions. Image: Burberry 

Under the partnership, customers will be able to sell their used garments and accessories back at selected Burberry stores in the US. Once the items are received, any necessary repairs or restorative work will be completed before they are put up for resale.

Customers will be able to buy the “pre-loved” items through The RealReal’s online platform or through Burberry’s personal shopping service at stores taking part in the pilot.

The partnership comes after The RealReal’s annual report found that resale demand for Burberry brand items through its platform has increased 64% year-on-year in 2019. Most searches through its site and app are made by Millennial and Gen Z shoppers.

“The RealReal shares our ambition to promote the circular economy and keep clothing in use for longer,” Burberry’s vice president for corporate responsibility Pam Batty said.

“We know that the enduring quality of Burberry pieces means their appeal and value is long-lasting. Through this new partnership we hope to not only champion a more circular future but encourage consumers to consider all the options available to them when they’re looking to refresh their wardrobes.”

If the pilot, which is due to end on 31 January 2020, is successful, Burberry will explore the possibility of expanding the offering. For the trial, the British brand and The RealReal will make a joint donation to NGO Materials for the Arts, which educates students and the general public around “creative” reuse. 

Making Fashion Circular

Since pledging to end the burning of unsold goods in 2018, Burberry has become increasingly widely regarded as a resource efficiency champion in the luxury fashion space.

Burberry is notably a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Make Fashion Circular’ initiative. Along with 17 other founding corporates, the brand has pledged to create business models which will keep garments in use, utilise materials which are renewable and find ways of recycling old clothes into new products.

The British brand has offered after-care and repair services to consumers since it was founded in 1856, and last year handled 20,000 requests under these schemes.

More recently, it has forged partnerships with handbag brand Elvis and Kresse and recycled materials specialist Aquafil to repurpose its leather offcuts and incorporate recycled fishing nets into its products respectively.

Burberry has also introduced Refibra, a new yarn produced by upcycling cotton leftovers from the Burberry Mill in Yorkshire, to make its dust bags for all jewellery, shoes and leather goods.

Sarah George

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