Why the closet-to-trash model is no longer cutting it for the English fashion house.

By Madeline Brik.

Alexander McQueen, the English fashion house known for its otherworldly collections, is taking concrete steps towards more sustainable distribution practices. McQueen is the first fashion house to partner with luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective. On February 16, Vestiaire Collective launched a “Brand Approved” program where McQueen customers can sell their timeless pieces in exchange for store credit. The launch is mobilizing McQueen’s classic garments to enter a circular lifecycle.

Amid the climate crisis, the fashion industry is moving away from a linear economy to a circular model in an effort to bring about more sustainable practices. Many luxury fashion houses are forming partnerships with third-party distributors to connect past collections with new buyers at discounted rates. Vestiaire Collective, founded in 2009 by a group of fashion professionals such as Fanny Moizant, is not the first—or last—of its kind. Luxury consignment sites such as The RealReal and Farfetch have partnerships with top fashion houses such as Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and more to circulate last season’s looks. Alongside Vestiaire, these consignment shops are committed to authenticity, thus setting the stage for the circular movement of luxury items.

The journey towards circular fashion has been a long time coming. Textile and material waste by the fashion industry has contributed to landfills, the prime producers of greenhouse gases, with 9.5 percent of municipal solid waste every year in the United States alone. The closet-to-trashcan life cycle, or linear model, has dominated the movement of garments and promotes excessive waste. To support the environment, avoiding the trashcan altogether is a vital mission in every tier of society, including the food industry.

“There is an urgent need to address the way we currently produce and consume fashion. Vestiaire Collective’s ‘Brand Approved’ program offers a sustainable solution, reinforcing the importance of durability, whilst empowering first-hand fashion players to disrupt their linear business models and embrace circularity,” says Fanny Moizant, Vestiaire Collective Co-founder and President, in a press release.

With a push towards sustainability, the shopping experience for luxury items is undergoing a shift. “We are confident that our customers will be equally excited to take part in an initiative that challenges a linear economy and sets a new and more sustainable standard for the future,” stated Emmanuel Gintzburger, CEO of Alexander McQueen.

Alexander McQueen’s collaboration with Vestiaire Collective is challenging the traditional route for their garments. McQueen’s focus on circularity provides previous collections with an authentic afterlife in this buy-back program. Through this resale business model, luxury fashion is evolving to accommodate sustainability into its lifecycle.