American Eagle Outfitters, one of Gen Z's most revered brands, is stepping into used clothing. And while it may be relatively late to the circular economy, it's taking a different approach.
Called RE/AE, the digital resale shop runs on ThredUp's resale-as-a-service platform. And it's offered using a shoppable augmented reality lens on Snapchat.
The collection includes secondhand -- er, vintage -- items, and can be purchased on a dedicated website. It quickly reminds people why they should buy used: "Buying (and wearing!) secondhand clothing instead of new reduces CO2 emissions by 25%."
Dimension kicks off with a 200-item inaugural collection.
Some reach back as far as the 1980s, priced between $10 and $40.
"RE/AE's accessible, digital-first, circular shopping experience provides an opportunity to refresh your closet by shopping pre-loved, iconic styles from a brand that has defined youth culture for decades," said Jennifer Foyle, president-chief creative officer, AE and Aerie, in its announcement. "Standing behind our commitment to help create a more sustainable future, the partnership with thredUP innovatively gives new life to clothing and accessories that might otherwise contribute to the throwaway fashion culture we are working to eliminate."
A spokesperson for the Pittsburgh-based company says it will support the launch with educational videos on Instagram and then will continue to add stories, posts, and TikToks.
ThredUp recently released its annual research report on resale, which finds that Gen Z's enthusiasm for used isn't slowing, with 83% of them saying they are open to buying preowned apparel.
Piper Sandler rates American Eagle as the second-most popular clothing brand for teens. But it didn't even make the Top 20 resale brands in the ThredUp report. Its competitors, however, dominate that ranking.
That list includes first-place Torrid, Madewell (No. 3), Urban Outfitters (No. 8), Levi's (11) and Abercrombie & Fitch (No. 13.)
With close to 1,000 stores in the U.S., AEO certainly has its struggles, with an 8% drop in sales at American Eagle. The Aerie brand rose 8%. But it continues to be one of the strongest mall-based retailers, posting near-record revenues of $1.5 billion in its most recent quarter.
It also continues to carve new territory with Quiet Platforms, a supply-chain and delivery business launched last year to compete with Amazon. The business-to-business division contributed about one percentage point to quarterly revenues.