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H&M and Guess add to sustainability cred with moves into vintage

Vintage has long been an inspiration for the fashion sector but vintage is being given a new impetus by brands at all price levels as it meets the sustainability drive head-on and becomes part of the war against waste and the marketing surrounding companies’ eco credentials.

The second-hand clothing market is predicted to double in the next five years to $51bn, according vintage e-store ThredUp, with the growth of resale sites driving the expansion.

As a result, H&M is to test sales of second-hand and vintage clothes with sustainability head Anna Gedda saying a Swedish pilot will launch online to test the concept. It’s being launched through its & Other Stories label, which is a good idea as the quirky, off-beat nature of that brand seems like a good fit.

“It comes back to the whole circular vision… it just makes great sense to look into this business,” Gedda told Reuters at an event in Berlin. “We see this as a growing part of the industry, with great opportunities both for consumers and not least for the environmental impact, and how we can drastically reduce that by extending the life of the products.”

The company has been investing in Swedish second-hand start-up platform Sellpy and is working with the firm on the project.

Meanwhile, for the first time in its brand history, Guess is also embracing vintage. The new #GuessVintage programme sees over 150 authenticated pieces being sold exclusively at LA-based Fred Segal on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

The company said that extending the life of a garment by just nine months helps to reduce overall environmental impact by 20-30%.

Nicolai Marciano, who’s responsible for brand partnerships and denim new product research at the firm, has teamed up with Sean Wotherspoon (best known for Round Two Store) on a programme to buy back vintage Guess items with sustainability in mind.

The men’s and women’s collection of vintage pieces ranges jeans, denim jackets, leather jackets, T-shirts, sweatshirts and more sourced globally and curated by Wotherspoon.

“With the explosion of vintage culture over the past decade, Sean and I wanted to join our community in the celebration of archival pieces that have stood the test of time,” said Marciano.

Additionally, kicking off a three-part event series at Fred Segal Sunset on April 10, consumers will be able to “shop and participate in a customisation experience using dead-stock vintage T-shirt blanks from the 80s and 90s Guess archives.”

They will also be able to screen-print Guess archival graphics on the blanks to create their own vintage pieces. The second event is set to take place on April 17 and the final event on April 22 in celebration of Earth Day.

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