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The North Face Launches Refurbished Apparel Pilot

(Credit: The North Face Renewed)

VF Corporation brand the North Face launched a pilot program this summer to sell refurbished apparel online, extending product life. Called the North Face Renewed, the collection targets consumers looking for affordable gear who also want to reduce their environmental footprints.

For the pilot phase, all the products in the collection come from clothing in the company’s distribution center that has been returned, damaged, or defective. From there, all the products are sent to Oregon-based partners to be professionally cleaned, repaired, and quality-checked before being sold online.

“As we address the impacts of our products over their entire lifecycle, recommerce is an important next step in opening new markets and minimizing our impact on the planet,” said James Rogers, director of sustainability at the North Face. “We are furthering our sustainability goals without sacrificing durability or technical standards. Ultimately, as we work to scale Renewed, we will be proving a larger, circular model for the industry.”

The North Face Renewed partners employ cleaning processes that include Tersus Solutions, a closed-loop system that uses carbon dioxide. “The process recaptures approximately 98% of the CO2,” according to the North Face. “It eliminates the need for water, thus using fewer natural resources and produces no effluent. Also, as no heat is used, the garments are protected against shrinkage and fiber degradation.”

Internally the company sorts refurbished garments into two categories: “like new” and “great.” Like new means any repair is now unnoticeable, whereas products in the great category could show a little wear, have a slightly noticeable repair, or both. Only like new products are being sold in the initial pilot, the North Face says.

Speaking with Environmental Leader earlier this year, VF Corporation’s vice president of global corporate sustainability Letitia Webster said that the global $12 billion apparel, footwear, and accessory company has to change to a circular business model. Recommerce is one of their focus areas.

“It’s one thing to say we’re going to bring back a couple hundred units,” she said. “If this is going to work, we have to bring back hundreds of thousands of units. So we need new systems in place that are streamlined and efficient — just as streamlined and efficient as getting the products out the door to the consumer.”

Getting It Done: Mentioned in This Article…

The North Face

Tersus Solutions

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