Startups That Seek To Help With Fashion’s Waste Problem

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In recent news, many luxury labels have been questioned as to the ethics behind many of their supply chain practices. Particularly in regards to waste and sustainability. Brands such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton have in fact come under criticism for reportedly destroying unsold items; often as a means of keeping up prices and the exclusivity of their labels.

However, several startups are looking to lessen the impact of that practice. Elevated Layers is a platform which will be leaving the beta testing stage later this month; its mission is to relieve labels of these discarded items, instead forwarding them to emerging influencers who then name the brand in their tags. On the other hand, we have ShopWorn, which offers to sell unworn display accessories as an alternative to brands discarding them.

ShopWorn’s CEO, Richard Birnbaum, says “World-class brands struggle with unsold inventory, and [they] destroy merchandise just to prevent it from being discounted on the internet. But our company was conceived on the idea of being a brand protector, rather than a brand killer.” The startup currently stocks jewelry, handbags, watches etc. from brands like Gucci, Cartier, and Dior. It mainly sources its merchandise from retailers, while also purchasing directly from around 15 brands.

Elevated Layers is headed by Roxy Ortiz. Ortiz has commented that the platform owes its growing success to its ability to build relationships with a handful of well-established names, which in turn serve as marketing to other brands. “They’re just sitting on this old, dead inventory,” says Ortiz. “I tell them that I can go in and edit – take 30 or 50 pieces from those existing resources – and plug it into this model. It doesn’t cost them anything.” Elevated Layers has already partnered with names such as Givenchy, Helmut Lang, and Acne Studios.

Brands are likely attracted to the fact that they do not only get free advertising but also get paid for sharing such merchandise with Elevated Layers – they do earn a cut of proceeds whenever influencers look into their styles.

These up and coming influencers, who may have yet to be associated with major labels, become able to shop these styles through an application process in which the platform screens them by reviewing their Instagram, level of engagement, connections etc. This is all to make sure that the brand is ideally presented in what they define as “beautiful content.” If accepted, influencers must pay $2,000 a year, coupled with a $95 initiation fee.

In offering luxury labels these options, these startups seek to cut down on waste in the fashion industry while also providing brands the allure of further developing their brand at little to no cost. A combination which may be worth looking at if we seek to make progress when it comes to sustainability.

Featured Image via Pxhere/Public Domain

Proud Latina Feminist. My likes include strong coffee, watching the previews that come on before the movie, and things that come in pretty packages. I've been a bibliophile and fashion lover since well before I could read or tie my own shoes.

    • Corrada Spatola

      Nice to see start ups making a difference.

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