Madewell Launches Second-Hand Denim Shopping Platform With ThredUP

The retailer is meeting demands of younger consumers looking to give old jeans another life.

madewell thredup

Love new jeans, but know that fashion can be woefully wasteful? Get ready for some feel-good shopping. Today Madewell announces the launch of “Madewell Forever,” a shopping platform dedicated to "pre-loved" denim powered by online thrift retailer thredUp. The platform kicks off with more than 3,000 styles ranging in price from $35 to $50 and a feed that refreshes every hour with new inventory.

The retailer is no stranger to secondhand. Madewell first collaborated with thredUP in 2019 with an in-store selection of pre-owned Madewell denim. They’ve also had a denim trade-in program for the past six years, offering customers who bring in their old jeans (now part of the “Madewell Forever” inventory) a $20 credit towards a fresh pair.

The brand has set forth the lofty goal of bringing more than one million jeans to “Madewell Forever” by 2023 as part of a big-picture circularity initiative. Not only is circularity proving to be good for the planet, but it’s great for business as well. According to thredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, more than 40 percent of their millennial and GenZ consumers have purchased second-hand fashion in the past 12 months. Madewell’s “Group Chat” customer feedback network of 5,000 fans reports that 61 percent of them have purchased second-hand.

As for this partnership? ThredUP saw Madewell as a match because of the brand's strong customer following on the reseller's platform and because the product holds up the second or third time around. According to thredUP's SVP/GM of resale-as-a-service, Pooja Sethi, “Madewell is one of the most popular brands on thredUP. Our customers love Madewell’s timeless yet stylish denim, and the brand's quality materials and construction yield durable products that tend to have incredible resale value and withstand multiple lives.”

But the difference between how the brands had worked together in the past and this new initiative is more than simply a new infrastructure to sell outside of Madewell's online and in-person stores. Using thredUP as a partner for an entirely new inventory of not-so-new product is a way for Madewell to utilize the platform’s knowledge of collecting and distributing secondhand product. Liz Hershfield, SVP of sustainability at Madewell explains, “Working with [thredUp] allows us to tap into their inventory as well as their expertise around logistics, which is invaluable. By powering resale at such scale, thredUP is uniquely positioned to support Madewell in offering our customers the opportunity to clean out clothing in Madewell stores, and shop secondhand Madewell denim directly from the brand for the first time.”

Hershfield hopes that other brands take note and branch out with similar platforms of their own—she doesn't see it as competing. “We hope to encourage other brands in the industry to introduce sustainable initiatives that not only resonate with their customers, but also create a positive impact on the world. We’ve piloted this 360-degree program with thredUP with the hopes of making the service accessible and easy for other retailers to join in and ramp up their own circularity journeys.”

Shop the selection of secondhand denim here.

Julia Gall

Julia Gall is the former Style Director at Marie Claire, covering all things fashion, as well as styling tips, wardrobe upkeep and sustainability. Check her out at @juliasgall.