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Old clothes: “Improving collection conditions is a priority”

LThe success of “fast fashion” in recent years has led to an explosion in the amount of low-quality second-hand clothing collected by charities. At the same time, donations of branded clothing have dropped dramatically, as their owners now often sell them online through specialized websites.

The challenge for associations is great because these low-level shares that they collect are now being rejected by African countries. “Aid” that prevented them from developing local ready-to-wear and caused serious damage to the environment by burning unusable second-hand clothes or leaving them in open air dumps.

This perverse system has been widely condemned. But its planned end threatens the economic model of charities, which have traditionally funded their social work by monetizing second-hand clothing received free of charge.

Associate stores

what solutions Our research, conducted in the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and several Asian countries, makes this roadmap possible.

The British case is particularly interesting, with its unbridled consumption of fast fashion, twice as much as in France, and the associational system it has adopted.

Improving collection conditions seems to be a priority. In France, people come to put the clothes they want to donate into about 25,000 containers on sidewalks and parking lots. A practical system, but one that does not allow quality control of deposits.

Having eleven thousand association stores in the UK is a game changer. These stores actually collect half of the used clothes donated across the channel, and in much better conditions: on average 35% of donated clothes are bought by local consumers, only 15% of clothes placed in containers.

That’s what we call these stores Charity shops It also plays an important role in social integration, employing 70,000 employees, sometimes with difficult career paths, and around 230,000 volunteers. They are very popular with the good deals that can be had there and are frequented by great customers.

Agreements with brands

This model begins to develop in France. Since 2020, the French Red Cross, for example, has set up second-hand shops under the Chez Henry brand, which are also run mainly by volunteer teams. But these association shops, which specialize in second-hand products, are currently four times less in France than in the UK. The room for improvement is quite large.

Source: Le Monde



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