With the recent push for more sustainable clothing options, several brands have created programs that allow customers to trade in old items for either cash or store credit. In fact, giving a second life to your old clothes can be a great (and fun way) to make extra money or revamp your wardrobe.
Lululemon, a giant in the world of workout gear, recently expanded their “Like New” program, which lets customers bring back their old garments in exchange for gift cards, but they are not alone.
Below, we’ve gathered a list of brands that have awesome clothing recycling programs and information on how each works.
Initially launched in just Texas and California in 2021, Lululemon’s Like New program expanded to include every store in the U.S. in April 2022. Customers can bring old clothing or items — including shirts, shorts, skirts, hoodies, sweaters, leggings, dresses, bags, and even outerwear — to any Lululemon store to receive a gift card that can be used in-store or online.
The items will then be “refreshed” and resold at a discount. There are a few items the brand makes that are ineligible for the trade-in program, including intimates, yoga props, swimsuits, and a few others. The company’s website also breaks down how much store credit customers can get for each item, like $5 for tanks and shirts, $10 for hoodies, leggings, and bags, and $25 for outerwear.
Patagonia’s Worn Wear program is a great option for those looking to resell clothing or other outdoor items. The company is willing to take back clothing, outerwear, and bags that are still in good condition and functional. Patagonia will even pay for shipping if you don’t feel like making your way to a store.
The company will pay in store credit for the used items, which will all eventually end up for sale at a discounted rate. The Worn Wear section of Patagonia’s website is also a great place to score a deal on gently used items.
Madewell has gone a step further with their Madewell Forever program, encouraging customers to send back clothes from other brands as well as their own. Customers looking to resell can sign up on the company’s website, print a free shipping label, and send a package containing women’s clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories to the company.
Through a partnership with thredUP, eligible clothing will be resold, and customers can get store credit. Plus, for every eligible pair of returned jeans, Madewell will knock $20 off new ones from the store.
Promising a commitment to sustainability, Eileen Fisher started a RENEW program where the company has not only pledged to take back worn or damaged products, but also to use the material from those products to create new items — nothing goes to waste.
Customers can bring their worn items back to Eileen Fisher stores and they will receive a $5 rewards card for each item. Those who don’t live near a store can check the company’s website to see where to send worn clothes.
Outdoor goods and clothing retailer REI also came up with its own reselling platform. Members of the company’s “co-op” can send in any item purchased at the store for an assessment and get paid in gift cards for their old gear. Customers can ship gear back through REI’s “Good & Used” program, or can drop products off at their closest REI shop.
The company also sells used gear on their website, and stresses that buying second-hand “typically avoids carbon emissions of 50% or more.”
The North Face
The North Face is attempting to do their part to protect the environment through their Clothes the Loop program. Customers can drop off used clothing and footwear — of any brand — at participating The North Face retail or outlet stores. The store accepts “gently used apparel” and will give customers a $10 gift card toward their next purchase of $100 or more.
The company will then send the clothing along to a nonprofit partner, Soles4Souls, to redistribute. The North Face notes that they hope the program will do its part to help reduce the 10 million tons of textile waste that ends up in U.S. landfills every year. Since its inception, customers have brought in more than 95,000 pounds of clothing and shoes to the Clothes the Loop program.
Fabletics, an athleisure clothing company, is another retailer that jumped on the sustainable clothing train in 2021. Through a partnership with ThredUp, customers are able to mail in pre-owned clothing to Fabletics and receive store credit for any item that is resellable. Even when items cannot be resold (due to damage or some other issue), the brand promises to recycle the waste.
Customers can request a kit from Fabletics online or at a store, and mail items back to the retailer. Customers who use ThredUp to resell clothing are able to opt for a cash payout — making it a good option for those looking for a fun side hustle — but can also choose to receive a payout in Fabletics store credit, which will be 15% more than the cash payout.
Sports apparel giant Adidas also has its own give-back program and will accept gear from other brands as well. In order to participate in the company’s program, customers need to download the Adidas app.
From there, they’ll select the “Give Back” tab, get a free shipping label, and be able to pack up items from any brand, in any condition in a box, and ship it back to Adidas free of charge. The company has set a limit that boxes or bags must be 30 pounds or less and under 60 inches.
The company will then sort through the products and, depending on how many items are eligible for resale, will give customers membership points, which can be used for purchases, or up to $40 in Adidas vouchers.
At the end of the day, the ever-evolving fashion and consumer industries in the world have led to massive amounts of waste. According to estimates from The North Face’s Clothes the Loop program, the 10 million tons of textile waste that heads to U.S. landfills every year equals about 70 pounds of textile waste per person — and 95% of those items could have been reused in some way or recycled.
The above brands are just a few that offer cash or store credit for used clothing. Those hoping to make a bit more money on used items may want to look into apps like Poshmark or Depop, which allow users to resell used (or new) clothing, shoes, bags, and other items, and come up with their own listing prices. For many people, using these apps has turned into one of the best side hustles.