Clothing Brand Resale Programs

This article on clothing brand resale programs is a round up of trade in programs done directly through a company’s website or stores.

As opposed to reselling clothes for money on third-party sites, like eBay or Poshmark, these are brand specific resale shops.

Think of it as yet another way to recycle your clothes for money.

However, in some instances you’ll do better reselling certain clothing brands on those aforementioned third party sites.

Why? Because the clothing brand trade in programs offer stingy payouts.

I’ve explained it all below.

Which clothing brands have resale programs

I’ve discovered nine brands that will buy back their own clothing for resale or recycling.

They do this through their own program, not a partnership with a third party.

This is a great option if you’re looking to keep clothes out of the waste stream.

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Also, maybe you need to make some extra money for the holidays or even just for your bottom line.

I wish these trade-in programs were around when I was writing my book Toss Keep Sell: How to Clean out the Clutter and Cash In.

That book was all about how you can sell household items to make extra money.

toss keep sell bookshop

Anyway, I’ve done my homework and have the details on the buy back, trade-in and resale programs from the following clothing brands or online clothing retailers.

  • American Eagle and Aerie
  • Eileen Fisher
  • H&M
  • Levi’s
  • Lululemon
  • MM LaFleur
  • Patagonia
  • REI
  • The North Face
  • Timberland

Is it a resale or resell

As you start to investigate stores and brands that buy back clothing, you may wonder what the right term for this all is.

I mean, is it resale or resell?

Well, here’s what you need to know.

To resell something is an action. That is, you’re reselling an item.

It’s something you do.

On the other hand resale is a noun.

It’s the place where you go to resell items.

Therefore, you would go to a resale shop to resell your used clothing.

Make sense?

Now onto the brands that have resale or recycling programs for their clothing and more.

These are the ones that will give you cash back or credits or discounts to shop in their stores in exchange for your trade in.

American Eagle and Aerie

A sign in the window of a clothing store advertises resale programs.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

I snapped this picture while walking through the mall recently. This was the sticker on the front window of aerie, the American Eagle brand, about their AE denim recycling program.

Basically, if you bring in an old pair of jeans to recycle, you’ll get $10 off a new pair. More about denim recycling here.

Eileen Fisher take back program

The Eileen Fisher second hand program is called Renew.

It’s where the brand will take back any clothing you no longer want but that is still in good enough condition for someone else to wear.

If you’ve ever purchased Eileen Fisher pieces (I have when shopping at Nordstrom), then you know that it can be a pricey brand.

Well, not surprisingly, when shopping at the Renew store you’ll find significantly reduced prices.

For example, I’ve never seen an Eileen Fisher top selling for less than $100 at retail.

On the other hand, at Renew I saw tops priced as low as $35.

Since starting this program in 2009, Eileen Fisher says they’ve taken back nearly 2 million pieces.

Those pieces were either resold through Renew, recycled (more about textile recycling here) or remade into new designs.

How much the take back program pays

Downside to this Eileen Fisher take back program? The payout.

It is a measly $5 per item.

In this instance I probably would end up consigning my Eileen Fisher clothes.

For example, I had an Eileen Fisher dress bought new at $178 (I had a gift card to Nordstrom), which I eventually grew tired of and resold on Poshmark.

Sale price? $48.

Same thing with a pair of Eileen Fisher pull on pants.

Original price was $258.

They sold on Poshmark for $40.

So, yeah, $48 and $40 beat $5 any day of the week.

H&M clothes recycling

The H&M clothes recycling program is a bit different from other brand resale programs.

That is, you’re not trading your clothes so H&M can resell them.

You’re bringing them back to the store for legit recycling.

So, you’re not making any money from a buy back. 

However, I’m told that when you drop off a bag of H&M clothes for recycling, you’ll get some sort of discount coupon to save on new H&M clothes.

Levi’s trade in program

You can take your old Levi’s jeans (and jean jackets and denim shorts) back to a Levi’s store to trade them in.

This is all done in person.

So, first locate a Levi’s store near you.

Then, make an appointment for your trade in.

Keep in mind that you’re limited to five items per appointment.

Make sure they’re still in good, wearable condition.

Finally, if Levi’s thinks they’ll be able to resell them on their Levi’s resale website called Levi’s Secondhand, they’ll give you a gift card between $5 and $30.

However, if the items aren’t worth anything in their minds, then they’ll recycle the denim.

Your old jeans could become insulation for homes. How cool is that?

fiberglass free home insulation

Lululemon Used Clothes Program

What is the Lululemon Trade In Program? It’s simple.

You can take your gently used clothing from Lululemon back to a store.

Then, the store associates will determine if they want to buy them back so they can sell them in their Lululemon like new store.

Lululemon will give you credit for your old clothes in the form of a digital Lululemon gift card.

What used Lululemon clothing is worth

Wondering what kind of credit you can get for your used clothing?

Here are the guidelines for the Lululemon trade in and resale program:

$5 for shirts, shorts and skirts

$10 for hoodies, sweatshirts, sweaters, pants, crops, leggings, dresses, and large bags–that is, backpacks, duffels and totes larger than 10L, according to lululemon.

$25 for outwear

Finally, if you buy something from the Like New Lululemon resale store and want to trade it in later, you can–assuming it’s still in gently used condition.

Yes, Lululemon will buy back clothes it’s already resold as used.

Lululemon is just one of a handful of sustainable workout clothing brands.

MM LaFleur Second Act

The Second Act program from MM LaFleur offers two benefits.

One, it gives you a place to resell your gently worn MM LaFleur clothing.

So you can recoup some of the cost of buying new.

You can take your resale proceeds as cash or as a credit for future shopping at MM LaFleur.

Keep in mind that the amount you receive varies based on how you take that payout.

From MM LaFleur:

“Redeem your earnings as cash to receive 70% of the sale price, or redeem as M.M.LaFleur store credit for 100% of the sale price.”

And, two, if you like the MM LaFleur brand but don’t want to pay full price, you can shop at the Second Act online store.

For example, I love my Emily dress from MM LaFleur. Retail it sells for $165.

mm lafleur emily dress

However, in the Second Act store, I recently saw the same Emily dress selling for as little as $30.

That’s a huge savings.

If I ever grow tired of my Emily dress or want to update my work from home wardrobe, I’m not going to sell it on Poshmark.

I’ll likely list it with MM LaFleur Second Act.

North Face trade in program

With the North Face trade in program, the company isn’t looking to resell clothing.

They’re looking to keep used clothes out of landfills.

That’s why their recycling program for used gear is called Clothes the Loop.

Get that play on words?

Instead of CLOSE the Loop, it’s Clothes the Loop.

I love clever wordplay.

So, here’s how the North Face clothes trade in program works:

“Our Clothes the Loop program encourages people to drop off unwanted clothing and footwear at The North Face Retail and Outlet Stores. Recycle your gently-used apparel and footwear at our stores and earn a $10 reward toward your next purchase of $100 or more at The North Face.”

Patagonia Trade in Program

Patagonia’s trade in, buy back and resale program is called Worn Wear.

It’s a place where you can find second hand Patagonia gear at a discount.

In addition, it’s where you would go to sell back any Patagonia items you might want to resell.

The Worn Wear Patagonia online store has these four different categories:

  • Men’s
  • Women’s
  • Kids & Baby
  • Packs & Gear

What qualifies for a Patagonia trade in

Not everything that Patagonia makes and sells is eligible for a trade in and to be resold.

Excluded items include swimwear, undergarments and sleeping bags, among other items.

As far as how much you can make for a traded-in item in good condition, this FAQ on Patagonia Worn Wear Trade In page answers lots of questions.

However, in brief, you can earn anywhere from $10 to $100 for certain items. 

REI Resupply Used Gear Store

The REI Resupply used gear store used to be called the REI Garage Sale.

Now it’s been rebranded as REI Resupply.

Also, in order to shop at or trade in clothes to the used gear store, you need to be a member of the REI co-op.

Membership is just $30 for a lifetime membership.

That means you pay once and have the membership forever.

There are other benefits to REI membership, if you’re joining just to get access to REI Resupply.

Some of those benefits include:

  • Up to 10% back annually on purchases
  • Free standard shipping
  • Buy used gear but also the ability to sell back your used gear

Plus many exclusive discounts, events and other opportunities open to members only.

Timberland brand resale program

The Timberland trade in program is called Timberloop.

Again, this is a brand that is trying to close the waste stream loop.

So, what you do is this: take your Timberland boots back to a store or mail them in.

Then, Timberland fixes them up and resells them on their Timberland Timberloop resale site.

In return for sending back your used Timberland boots, you’ll get a 20% off Timberland coupon for future shopping.

At the same time you can shop the “refreshed” Timberland products, too.

Final thoughts on clothing brand resale programs

While researching this article, I came across a handful of clothing brands that run their resale programs through ThredUp.

Before I’d discovered Poshmark, I’d used ThredUp to resell my clothing.

However, I got the feeling that ThredUp was ripping me off with the value they were giving for my gently used clothing.

So I stopped sending stuff to them.

I haven’t tried them again in years so my opinion hasn’t changed.

Anyway, I just wanted to add that and explain why I didn’t include the clothing brand resale programs that PacSun and Madewell run through ThredUp.

Personally, I think you’d be better off consigning your clothes on Poshmark.

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