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Zara, eBay and Lee Launch Programs to Bolster Resale in the UK and the U.S.

Zara and eBay are advancing resale in the UK with two new initiatives: the launch of Zara Pre-Owned, and partnership with the British Fashion Council to launch the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund, respectively. Additionally, Lee is launching the Lee Archives in the U.S. to promote and sell vintage clothing from its older lines, with an emphasis on its iconic American look.

Zara Pre-Owned will be an integrated platform available through Zara stores, Zara.com and the retailer’s mobile app. Shoppers will be able to choose a number of options to extend the longevity of their clothes and reduce waste, including:

  • Repair: Zara customers can request repairs on any used Zara garments, with options ranging from the replacement of buttons and zippers to repairing seams;
  • Resale: Shoppers can resell their Zara items through a secure platform, with Zara providing technological support and customer service. The resale space will be organized by product categories with detailed information for each item, including current images provided by the seller and original product information provided by Zara; and
  • Donation: Zara can collect clothing from customers’ homes for donation. Online donations of garments will go to the Red Cross, where it will be reused or recycled in support of the development of projects in local communities. This service is for clothing from any brand.

The platform is aligned to the retailer’s other eco-friendly initiatives such as the Inditex Sustainability Innovation Hub, an innovation platform focused on finding sustainable materials, technologies and processes by partnering with startups such as CIRC and Infinited Fiber, as well as innovation accelerators and reference collaborators such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

eBay Boosts Six Circular-Focused Small Businesses

eBay UK will launch the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund with an initial £100,000 ($113,000) in funding for six small businesses specializing in circular fashion solutions. The fund was created to help bring new technology to the market in order to help people think and shop differently. Investments will focus on areas including the customer experience, circular inventory and services, and social commerce.

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The British Fashion Council will leverage its industry expertise and access to fashion innovation businesses to identify and assess the circular solutions that are most likely to succeed. Additionally, environmental charity Hubbub will support the effort in an advisory role by drawing on its experience in delivering high-profile grant funds.

Each of the six winning businesses will receive a £15,000 grant and one overall winner will receive an additional £10,000. Winners also will participate in a six-week mentoring program featuring one-on-one sessions with business leaders from eBay and organizations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, as well as networking opportunities.

Circular fashion has been a growing business for eBay, which saw a 7,000% increase in searches for “pre-loved fashion” during May to August 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Interest was fueled by a partnership with reality TV show Love Island as well as growing interest in sustainable fashion.

“There’s widespread acceptance across the fashion world that circularity is key for the long-term success of the industry,” said Lucy Peacock, Head of Pre-loved at eBay UK in a statement. “Over the past few years, there have been so many brilliant startups and small businesses that are changing the way we think about a circular fashion economy. We hope that the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund will help scale these innovative startups in size and reach, and in turn make sustainable fashion practices more accessible to more people and businesses.”

eBay helped save over 17,770 tons of fashion items from landfills on its marketplace in 2021. The retailer also has partnered with Reskinned to expand its secondhand clothing options to include repaired goods and it has launched the Imperfects Hub, where 180 brands including North Face, Off White, Puma, Fila and Timberland can sell imperfect goods.

Lee Taps Pop Culture to Save Old Items

The Lee archive will dig through the retailer’s 133-year history to find items worn by cowboys, workers and movie stars alike.

The first item in the archive will be the Storm Ride Jacket, which was first produced in 1953 and was famously worn by Marilyn Monroe in the film The Misfits. Vintage jackets, which were likely produced in the 1960s and 70s, will retail for $225 each, while a new version of the Storm Rider Jacket will be sold for $300.

Lee is specifically targeting Gen Z’s preference for pre-owned clothing. The retailer cited a study predicting that used clothing will make up 27% of the average resale buyer’s closet by 2023.

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