H&M-owned brand Cos is launching its own resale business, a move that will allow customers to buy and sell used Cos clothing. The digital platform, called Resell, is being positioned partly as a circular and renewable solution. But pegging resale as sustainable is not a simple claim to make.
The Swedish-owned brand says the “community-curated online selection”, which will launch globally this month, will enable peers to sell old favourites and shop new pieces from the brand’s archive. The seller sets the price — and provides the product information and manages postage — and Cos will take a 10 per cent commission “to cover the operational costs of resell”. Cos is one of the first major brands to operate resale for its own products.
H&M’s move will turn attention towards buying used, says Rachel Kibbe, director of circularity for Retrievr, a clothing and electronics collection service. Cos’s initiative comes as consumer interest in resale items is soaring; last year, GlobalData predicted the resale market would grow from $24 billion in 2018 to $51 billion by 2023. But, she says, at this point resale should be the minimum a brand is doing to reduce impact. Critics also say the model can only work if Cos is manufacturing products that will last, and it becomes part of a larger shift in its business model. Being part of the H&M portfolio, a fast fashion company that invests in the development of sustainable technologies but is criticised for its scale and practices such as, in 2018, burning unsold clothing, also calls the efficacy of the effort into question.Vogue Business