Diesel & Polygiene Button Up The Secondhand Market

As a growing number of brands look to embrace circular fashion, Polygiene technologies are providing a simple solution.

In November 2021, Italian denim brand Diesel® launched a new project designed to extend the life of its products by allowing consumers to keep them in active use for years.

The label’s SECOND HAND collection comprises garments brought back into store by consumers and then given a second life, with a combination of Polygiene treatments playing a key role.

The denim items are evaluated and reconditioned locally. The secondhand products are then sold at several Diesel stores in Italy and online on the brand’s website throughout Europe.

The reconditioning involves cleaning, with each garment washed and sanitized; small repairs, such as missing buttons or broken zips, small defects and minor signs of tear and wear; and make up, with an internal and external ‘SECOND HAND’ logo printed on each denim.

Then, there is the additional final step which is in many ways the most important. It is here that each garment is treated with the Polygiene OdorCrunch™ Stays Fresh and Polygiene ViralOff™ technologies.

In combination, these treatments apply antimicrobial, odor-resistant, and garment-protective properties to each denim. Both technologies help ensure each product stays fresh and hygienic, so it requires washing less often, further extending its life.

Diesel’s SECOND HAND initiative went through a trial phase in the summer of 2021, with denim buyback programmes at selected Italian stores, and 900 pairs of jeans were collected and reconditioned. Diesel says the project offers a “creative and inspiring way to take steps towards circularity.”

The service aims to tap into the surging demand for secondhand clothes, which had been growing strongly even before the pandemic. In 2019, the global market for secondhand clothes expanded 21 times faster than that for new apparel.

Now, growth is accelerating further, and according to a report from ThredUp¹ published in 2021, the US secondhand fashion market is expected to nearly triple in value in the next 10 years – from US$28 billion in 2019 to US$80 billion in 2029.

Amid the complexity of the challenges we face in tackling climate change, keeping clothes alive for longer and buying fewer new items is a relatively easy way for consumers to feel better about themselves and their carbon footprint. It’s hard to deny that as humans, we are inherently lazy – we all want to feel that we are doing good for the world, but with as little effort as possible.

But by extending the life of our clothes, we are significantly reducing the environmental impact of our wardrobes. Studies have found that while using more sustainable materials and manufacturing processes play an important role, keeping apparel alive for longer has the biggest effect on a garment’s footprint.

According to the UK organisation, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)², if clothes stayed in active use for nine months longer, extending their average life to around three years, this would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%.

A separate white paper study, reviewing research looking at how the textile and clothing industry can use resources in a smarter way from a consumer perspective, concludes that “extending the active life of our clothes should be the goal with the highest priority.”

The study points to research completed in Sweden which found that using garments twice as many times in their original purchase form cuts the climate impact by almost 50%. This reduction is mainly due to fewer new garments needing to be produced.

All this helps explain why more and more brands are looking at ways to extend the life of their products, and why many are turning to Polygiene technologies. The performance and added value in the Diesel® SECOND HAND collection are achieved by utilizing two of Polygiene’s technologies.

Polygiene OdorCrunch™ Stays Fresh removes any environmental odors such as cooking fumes, smoke, or body odors from the garment. It encapsulates the odor molecules and cracks them, removing the offensive odor for the lifetime of the product.

Polygiene ViralOff™ was launched in response to the growing demand for antiviral solutions sparked by the Corona pandemic. This technology is a branded treatment of textiles and other products that reduces microbes (viruses, bacteria, and fungi). This is tested by the global standard test ISO18184 and is an assurance that the treated article will perform.

As well as reducing the number of times a product needs to go through the laundry, keeping garments alive for longer, crucially, they also make it easy for the consumer. All we need to do is leave our garment overnight to air dry. In addition, less washing saves energy, time, and money.

We can therefore expect to see more projects like Diesel’s SECOND HAND initiative, using Polygiene to help keep our clothes alive for longer while making it easy for the consumer.

1. 2021 Fashion Resale Market and Trend Report | thredUP
2. Why Love Your Clothes? | Love Your Clothes