Why Second Hand Manufacturers Ought to Embrace

Richard Hurren, Vice President of European Retail at Levi, explains the brand's new concept store, which has a strong focus on recycled and repaired goods, and explains why companies should make more sustainable choices about their products

Second-hand shopping is no longer reserved for musty charities and overcrowded flea markets. Ikea has just announced its first used furniture store, Cos has launched a resale platform and Levi has unveiled a concept store stocked with vintage, repaired, reimagined, and recycled denim. Oxfam's second-hand promise in September was also hugely successful: it attracted 62,000 signups in 2019, landed Michaela Coel as the face of the campaign that year, and opened a pop-up charity store in Selfridges. Platforms like Thredup and Vinted, which provide people with a marketplace to sell their unwanted items, are also growing in popularity.

Everything indicates that a revolution is underway, with more and more people using used clothing as a more conscious way of shopping and as an alternative to the harmful influence of fast fashion. People have been buying vintage for years, but this may be the first sign that brands are really embracing the movement.

Such an approach is nothing new to Levi. Richard Hurren, vice president of European retail for the company, says the brand has taken a sustainable approach for years – from supply chain to business development to customer loyalty. "We've been around for a long time and who doesn't have jeans shorts that they cut off or a jacket that they pulled off the sleeves," he says. "So much of this has happened over the years that it has always been part of our DNA – that consumers do it and reinterpret and tell different stories."