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Material Wrld: Evolving the Fashion Lifecycle

Material Wrld: Evolving the Fashion Lifecycle

To say the resale fashion landscape has changed since we first opened our Thrift shops 25 years ago is a major understatement. Thrifting has become mainstream, and reselling fashion and furniture is a growth industry. As a nonprofit charity, we rely on donations from individuals and corporations and the funds they generate to provide lifesaving services to our over 4,000 clients.

The industry overhaul notwithstanding, our customers continue to depend on our shops for amazing fashion (and other) finds, that’s why we’re so pleased to announce our newest charitable partnership with online luxury fashion trade-in service, Material Wrld. We recently connected with the Co-founders Rie Yano and Jie Zheng to discuss their innovative business model, their tips for keeping your wardrobe fresh, and why it’s so important for them to give back.

Housing Works: Name(s), location, occupation
Rie Yano and Jie Zheng: Co-founders of Material Wrld, New York City

HW: In 140 characters (or less), what is Material Wrld?
RY and JZ: A luxury trade-in service helping a woman’s style evolve by providing retailer gift cards for designer clothing, bags and shoes

HW: There seems to be a proliferation of online consignment options, what makes Material Wrld different?
RY and JZ: Material Wrld was built on the belief that the process of maintaining your wardrobe should be fun and easy so your personal style can evolve right alongside your lifestyle. We make an upfront offer on items and then manage all aspects of the selling or donation, cutting out the unwieldy experience of standard resale marketplaces and consignment stores. The service provides a safe, secure, and fast platform to extend the lifecycle of your clothing while instantly replenishing your funds for new merchandise with gift cards to retail partners, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Barneys.

HW: Tell our readers your top tip for editing your closet.
RY and JZ: To keep your closet up-to-date, do a seasonal review based on what makes you happy. Keep the pieces that spark joy and refresh the remaining with Material Wrld.

HW: Why is it important for Material Wrld to give back?
RY and JZ: Material Wrld aims to become part of a more sustainable fashion lifecycle and reduce fashion’s environmental impact. We give our customers’ trade-in pieces new life through resale and our new charity clothing donation partner Housing Works, ensuring that every item finds a new home instead of ending up in a landfill.

HW: Tell us about your new charitable partnership with Housing Works.
RY and JZ: With this new partnership, Material Wrld customers can choose to have any items not accepted for trade-in donated to Housing Works on their behalf. In addition, any trade-in pieces that do not sell will automatically be given to Housing Works to help support their mission to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS.

For more information, plus fashion intelligence from industry insiders, check out

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