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SAN FRANCISCO – People will be incentivised to go out and buy more clothing in a new partnership between US apparel retailer Gap Inc and rapidly growing resale platform, thredUP. As part of the initiative, customers will be able to turn in secondhand clothes – in exchange for shopping credits to be redeemed at Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, or Janie and Jack. Gap Inc. is the largest participant to date in thredUP’s Resale-as-a-Service (RAAS) programme, an online platform that partners with retailers, in theory to “support the circular fashion economy” but in reality – certainly in this case – further encouraging people to shop for clothing.

Customers who redeem their credits at Gap Inc. brands will receive an additional 15 per cent payout bonus. Starting in April, thredUP Clean Out bags or labels will be available to customers at select Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Janie and Jack stores in the US, providing a way to send in unwanted items for consignment. This will be the largest distribution of thredUP Clean Out bags and labels to date under the company’s RAAS platform.

We are trying to establish whether this is the first time thredUP’s service has been matched with an incentive to spend vouchers at a participating client.

thredUP’s claims in its annual report that the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second, and 56 million women bought secondhand products in 2018 – almost half of the entire female adult population in the US.

The question which must be asked on learning of an initiative which, in essence, is encouraging further clothing consumption, is how much of these shopping credits/vouchers will be redeemed on clothing which ultimtaley ends in landfill.

“As the resale revolution continues to gain momentum, participating in re-commerce is not only good for our planet, but good for business,” said Mark Breitbard, president, Gap Inc. specialty brands. “Our customers are diversifying their closets, whether with new clothing, rental pieces, or secondhand goods. We’re thrilled to partner with thredUP in offering a sustainable and innovative way to shop for the closet of the future.”

Gap Inc says it is working toward the goal of diverting more than 30 million pounds of material annually from landfills.

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