Beyond recycling: Repassa wants to reduce 82% of the impact of the fashion industry with online thrift store
When was the last time you bought an item of clothing? With the rise of fast fashions (a production model in which products are manufactured, consumed and discarded constantly and very quickly), buying clothes and discarding them when they go out of fashion has become a common habit.
In fact, with Brazil among the 10 countries that spend the most on clothes and accessories in the world, it is likely that you have purchased at least 1 piece of clothing in the last month. But with the increase in competition combined with inflation, strategies to reduce the price of parts, increase sales and follow this trend of disposable consumption have negatively impacted the environment and, above all, society.
The second most polluting industry in the world
According to the Brazilian Textile Industry Association (ABIT), the fashion industry generates 175 thousand tons of textile waste per year in Brazil. One of the most used fibers on the market, polyester, is responsible for the annual emission of 32 of the 57 million global tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
But it is not just production that contributes to the negative environmental impact of this industry. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the short life cycle of the parts also results in losses in the house of $500 billion a year in discards in landfills – which are practically not reused.
The sustainable solution
Second Tadeu Almeida, founder and CEO of Repassa (an online used clothing store), on average, we only wear a garment 7x after we buy.
Looking for purpose, Tadeu decided to leave his career as a publicist to undertakefounding Repassa in 2015. The company’s mission is to extend the life cycle clothes that are no longer used, generating a positive socio-environmental impact. In practice, it works as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of “gently used” parts (which are used, but in excellent condition).
With thousands of pieces for sale and prices ranging from R$6 to R$10,000, including luxury items with an 80% discount, Repassa, in 2021 alone, promoted the donation of almost 210 thousand items and R$ 1.7 million in cash to more than 20 social projects across the country.
How does Repass work?
To sell a part, the seller requests a ‘good bag’ on the Repassa platform, he gathers the clothes he wants to resell and sends the bag to the company’s quality control center. Once the pieces are approved for sale, they are photographed, cataloged and registered in the online store.
With respect to the original price, the buyer may save up to 90% purchase, in addition to acquiring a much more sustainable and exclusive piece. Whoever sold the piece, in turn, receives the amount through a digital wallet and has the option to: withdraw the money, donate the money to more than 30 NGOs supported by Repassa or use the value to buy pieces at a discount on the platform itself – further stimulating the circular economy.
“For me, the most sustainable product is the one that already exists. When we extend the life cycle of any garment, we are naturally reducing the environmental impact generated in the production of this product”, comments Tadeu. According to the businessman, Repassa’s actions to promote the increase in the life cycle of can reduce the impacts generated in their production by up to 82%.
Optimistic, Tadeu believes that, increasingly, the circular economy and sustainability make up the list of priorities for companies. And this becomes even clearer if we analyze the consumer behavior. For him, the new generations are more socially and environmentally engaged, which contributes to a more conscious consumption.
For Thaddeus, it is the consumer pressure which helps demand greater corporate responsibility from large retailers.
This is the case of Lojas Renner SA, owner of Repassa, which took a leading role in sustainability and implemented initiatives at all stages of the industry to make fashion more circular. For example: producing higher quality products to increase the durability of the pieces, using organic cotton in the production of clothes and taking over the Repassa operation to extend the life cycle of the products.