COVER ART: JULIANNA LUKACS
As I sit in my mom’s vintage Rolling Stones tee, I'm transported back to all of the crazy experiences she had while wearing this shirt. Now, when I wear it, I feel like I am reliving and building on her legacy – thirty years later. Today, the vintage clothing market has seen an upsurge in popularity, appreciating in revenue 11 times faster than the traditional retail market.Wearing vintage clothing has taken on a new meaning—a used item has a rich history belonging to its former owner, which adds value and sentiment to the new owner. New Balance, a classic athletic apparel and sneaker brand, recently partnered with The Renewal Workshop (TRW), a zero-waste design & production company, to collect and refurbish lightly used items with the hope of offering a second “renewed” life for vintage clothing.
The Renewal Wokshop’s sustainable business framework sources textiles and lightly battered up apparel from large retailers, sends them to TRW for cleaning, repair and resortment (all completed in an all eco-friendly fashion), and then redistributes the items on New Balance’s website or shared marketplaces. With this partnership, New Balance hopes to contribute to a more sustainable and circular business model for their customers and for the longevity of our planet. As global warming’s prevalence haunts our ever changing world, more and more brands are turning to alternative production methods, accumulating less physical waste, and cutting down on carbon footprint. This partnership was quite strategic for both New Balance and The Renewal Workshop, as their collective influence inspires many other big-name brands to reform their company’s production framework and intentions to not only satisfy customers, but also to contribute in healing our planet.
Other big-name partners that have recently paired up with TRW include North Face’s Renewed program and Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommy for Life. The Renewal Workshop recently completed a successful round of financing, whereby they raised $6 million dollars to fund continued growth. As a B2B business, TRW serves as a strategic management partner in reshaping and improving on all acts of sustainability and opening the market to vintage wear.
This partnership with The Renewal Project is especially important due to athleisure wear becoming increasingly popular. The magnitude of the shift towards athleisure wear is far bigger than a microtrend, and there needs to be systems in place such as TRW that will ensure that this movement is not a detriment to the environment. Vintage wear and thrift shopping is the best way to shop without a carbon footprint, so combining both athletic wear, the biggest trend of our time, with the rise in popularity of vintage clothing is the perfect way to remain stylish and sustainable.
Since the pandemic, we have seen a number of trends reverting back to our old ways and styles, such as flair jeans, leather jackets, flowery prints and bright hues—reminding us of our childhood—and vintage wear fits right alongside these trends. In a way, we are all searching for nostalgia. Thus, The Renewal Workshop x New Balance’s efforts are preventing mass waste of quality and coveted apparel from ending up in landfills, and providing such items a new significance to be worn again.