The Real Real, the largest authentic resale site, has amassed 28 million shoppers over its 11 years in business, all of whom— whether they know it or not— contribute to the site's mission of extending the life of luxury goods. The company, in turn, has saved 59,374 metric tons of carbon and 3.1 billion liters of water by buying and selling over 26 million pre-loved luxury items. Still, there's more work to do.
While luxury pieces in good or pristine condition have a chance at a second life, that prospect is unlikely for items with even small flaws. "More often than not, these are the pieces in people's homes that end up in the landfill—alongside the 10.5 million tons of clothing sent there each year," explains The Real Real's Senior Fashion Lead Noelle Sciacca. She says, "Ninety-five percent of products destined for landfills could be reborn if they're repaired or upcycled in some way."
For their ReCollection 04, TRR took that statistic to heart, and the drawing board— pushing their boundaries, the team harnessed the power of the imperfect— using damaged, ripped, stained, and destroyed clothing as the inspiration for the 90-piece size and gender-inclusive collection.
"In past collections, we first identified how to get rid of the damage. For example, if there was staining at the dress's hemline, we cut the dress shorter. This time, we embraced signs of wear and tear," Sciacca says. The goal was to create beauty out of perceived brokenness. Water stains were enhanced with elegant hand-drawn patterns, while holes became focal points, trimmed with Victorian-era embroideries. "These new pieces, originating from high-quality fabrics, are the true definition of one-of-a-kind," Sciacca explains.
A collection like this also opens the door for more conversation. "There's a lot of untapped opportunity with upcycling and we're hoping to inspire and empower people. With a little creativity, you can do so many things to keep an imperfect-looking piece in circulation, says Sciacca. "Giving them a second or third life is absolutely possible."
First Look members can shop the ReCollection 04 today, with access to the public starting Tuesday, August 16th.
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Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to. Over her six years with Marie Claire, Sara has reported on the ever-evolving world of fashion— covering both established and emerging designers within the industry. Sara has held fashion positions at Lucky and SELF Magazine and was a regular contributor to Equinox’s Furthermore website, where she wrote across their style, wellness, and travel verticals. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and currently resides in Manhattan. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork.
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