French resale giant, Vestiaire Collective, is taking a bold step towards reducing the harmful effects of fast fashion by implementing a second ban on popular brands from its platform. This move is in line with the company’s three-year strategy to minimize the presence of fast fashion on its website. Following the initial ban introduced in November 2022, this new wave of restrictions includes well-known names such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, H&M, Mango, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, and Zara, among others.

After the initial ban in 2022, Vestiaire Collective observed that 70% of the affected members returned to the platform to explore higher quality items and invest in secondhand fashion. To further its commitment to a more circular economy, the company collaborated with a committee of fashion and sustainability experts to define what constitutes fast fashion and use this framework to exclude major industry players from its platform. Despite potential controversy, Vestiaire Collective believes this ban is a crucial step towards reducing the fashion industry’s impact on the environment and society, particularly in the face of the worsening climate crisis and excessive textile waste generation.

The new ban is governed by several criteria, including the estimated average price and repairability of items, the frequency of new item drops or collections, the availability of items at any given time, the production cycle time from design to in-store arrival, and the intensity of sale promotions.

The decision to ban fast fashion stemmed from a visit by a Vestiaire Collective team to Kantamanto in Ghana, renowned as the world’s largest reuse and upcycling economy. Witnessing the scale and consequences of fast fashion waste in that region compelled the company to take swift action.

Dounia Wone, the Chief Impact Officer of Vestiaire Collective, emphasized that the ban was implemented to promote alternatives to the prevailing fashion model. Fast fashion brands contribute significantly to overproduction and overconsumption, leading to severe social and environmental repercussions, particularly in the Global South. Wone asserted that it is the company’s responsibility to lead the way and inspire others in the industry to join this movement.

In addition to the ban, Vestiaire Collective aims to cultivate conscious consumption among consumers. The company has developed an educational journey for buyers and sellers, featuring informational messages at each stage. Buyers will also receive practical alternatives for their existing fast fashion items through an online guide that offers donation strategies and insights on sustainability. Moreover, Vestiaire Collective is committed to educating companies about the advantages of sustainability and will assess its partnerships and relationships with influencers based on their sustainability practices.

To amplify its message, Vestiaire Collective is launching a global campaign called Think First, Buy Second, which leverages AI technology across its digital channels. The campaign will feature videos and visuals showcasing piles of clothes in iconic locations worldwide, symbolizing the textile waste and landfills existing within consumers’ own countries. Its goal is to inspire social media users to pledge to only buy secondhand on “Better Friday” instead of participating in Black Friday. Participants can choose to make the pledge until the end of the year, in 2024, or commit permanently to purchasing secondhand items.

Useful Links:
Vogue Business: Vestiaire Collective intensifies its efforts against fast fashion
Business of Fashion: Vestiaire Collective expands ban on fast fashion brands