For years, I dropped off bags at Goodwill and Salvation Army. Had no idea what happened next. The past few years opened my eyes to a whole world existing after that trash bag leaves the back of your closet. Follow along to see it unfold! (Read the research here.)
Clothing is not disposable. But recycling systems are broken. Circular systems are the future. Here’s where you can begin.
Why are we doing this?
VICENZI has a circular business model. Did you know the fashion industry grew to become one of the most polluting? The rise of non-renewable resources to produce cheaper apparel fabric, combined with the rise in fast fashion consumption, has created a devastating toll on our planet’s natural systems.
Most women’s clothing items are discarded after an average of 7 wears. Reselling options abound these days, but remain difficult to adopt or are simply not priority for most consumers (i.e. their time investment is not worth the potential payout). Donation is a frequent “next step” for unwanted goods, but our research unveiled a disappointing 85-95% of donations still end up down-cycled or in a landfill, not before going through several rounds of middlemen – wasting precious energy, time, and resources along the way.
What is a viable long-term solution?
“Closing the loop” means the manufacturer (that’s us) takes responsibility for the end of life of all garments they produce. Customers (that’s you) simply return items when the time comes for reselling or repurposing. As an incentive, we offer a percentage of your original purchase price in the form of account credit (up to $100). In this way, quality clothing can be seen as something that holds value, like a currency, rather than a consumable or disposable commodity slated for a landfill.
Ways to participate in the near term
We cannot officially start to close the loop until we have “currency in the system” and begin accepting buyback returns (6 months after your delivery date). However, we are impatient and we think you deserve an early reward for joining us on this journey. To kickstart implementation of the VICENZI Closed-Loop Active Wardrobe System, we are offering $50 off Blazer Nº1 orders in exchange for a donation of 2-3+ items from any brand, to any legitimate donation center or individual in your local community. Use the code CLOSETHELOOP at checkout.
As an upstart with limited bandwidth, we are relying on the honor system for this discount. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with 1) photo(s) of the items donated and 2) name(s) of the receiving organization or individual(s). You may also share your experience on social media and tag #closetheloop and @vicenzi.design. A quick mobile phone snap will do! Bonus points if you include your smiling mug. (Note: this process does NOT have to be completed by the time of order. We merely want to help fire up a Summer-to-Fall clear-out if you have goods to pass up and pass forward.)
Why $50? Allow our founder Allison to explain.
I tried nearly every resale and consignment option (online and offline) in the past year with my own pre-loved garments. Some still had the tags on! I never made over $50 for a bag of clothes and accessories. Most times, I didn’t even come close (looking at you, Beacon’s Closet!) yet was still happy to donate the unwanted garb instead of defeatedly lugging a trash bag back home. It made me wonder, what if we came up with a system where people felt motivated to clear out closets, to find a new owner for unwanted stuff, to understand what happens next in the process? In an ideal world, robots will come pick up your bag for you. For now, I’m asking you let us know what you do with your pre-loved stuff and I’ll give reward credits as a thank you for supporting the experiment. Thank you for experimenting with us in hopes for a cleaner future.
This post was originally shared on VICENZI.org in October 2017 to introduce our circular business model. The site format has changed since then but the logic and plans discussed here still stand.