ThredUP enlists ‘Stranger Things’ star to help turn the fast fashion world upside down

Discussion
Photos: thredUP
Aug 18, 2022

Fast fashion has long been criticized for its negative environmental impact. Now online resale retailer thredUP is launching a campaign with a celebrity influencer espousing the ills of fast fashion, while advertising the type of outfits the online secondhand shop offers.

Stranger Things star Priah Ferguson is curating and promoting a line of outfits for thredUP, alongside the launch of an initiative called the “Fast Fashion Confessional Hotline,” according to Gotham. Shoppers can call the hotline and hear Ms. Ferguson’s take on why fast fashion is bad for the environment.

ThredUP enlists ‘Stranger Things’ star to help turn the fast fashion world upside down
Photo: thredUP

RetailWire called the hotline and confirmed that callers are connected with a recording of Ms. Ferguson, who offers a few options to hear additional messages that will help shoppers “break off with fast fashion:”

  • Option one is targeted toward customers who want Ms. Ferguson to talk them out of a fast fashion splurge;
  • Option two features Ms. Ferguson discussing why thrift is better than fast fashion;
  • Option three lets customers hear a “bad fast fashion” story from Ms. Ferguson and encourages callers to leave a voicemail sharing their own.

The new initiative does not represent thredUP’s first volley against fast fashion. In fact, it recently launched a campaign targeting not just the business model, but a competing business.

In June, thredUP sent push notifications to customers in San Francisco asking them to pledge not to patronize Shein’s pop-up shop. It also promised those who took part in the boycott 40 percent off plus free shipping on a first purchase from thredUP.

News coming out of thredUP’s most recent earnings call about the health of the company was mixed.

The company announced that it would be laying off 15 percent of its corporate staff and shuttering a processing center due to softening demand, according to Footwear News. Other companies in the fashion vertical have also laid off employees recently.

Despite the reported net loss, thredUP’s earnings call provoked a stock surge on news of an increased number of active buyers and orders, according to The Motley Fool.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:  Will Gen-Z consumers see the Fast Fashion Confessional Hotline as authentic or heavy-handed? Is thredUP on point or going too far in its anti-fast fashion activism?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The reality is that resale retail should be more vocal about why they're a good choice. They have the claim to sustainability, why not leverage it?"
"At this point I would focus more on creative curation than trying to get consumers to leave competitors."
"ThredUP’s determination to validate its business model and turn a profit has unleashed some aggressive and clever marketing."

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5 Comments on "ThredUP enlists ‘Stranger Things’ star to help turn the fast fashion world upside down"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This is largely a marketing and PR play, but it’s one that contains an important message that resonates with many younger shoppers who use fast fashion but feel a bit guilty about doing so. ThredUP is hoping it can convert some of those shoppers to resale or, where they already use resale (which many do), get them to spend more there and cut back on fast fashion.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

I like the idea, but I’m not sure Gen Z needs information as to why fast fashion is bad – they are the most likely generation to already know that and to care. The texting pledge against Shein is smarter, in my opinion, because it feels almost political, which can mobilize this demographic and get them excited about shopping for good. The reality is that resale retail should be more vocal about why they’re a good choice. They have the claim to sustainability, why not leverage it?

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

ThredUP’s determination to validate its business model and turn a profit has unleashed some aggressive and clever marketing. Even if the campaigns don’t move the profit needle, they have raised the bar for resale enablers that would otherwise rely on earnest, low-key promotions.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Priah Ferguson is curating and promoting a line of outfits for thredUP? That’s tough when everything is one of a kind. Is Priah sharing how to shop resale and style pieces that work together? A “how to coordinate an outfit” kind of thing?

At this point I would focus more on creative curation than trying to get consumers to leave competitors. Adding a digital version of the hotline, with more topics/focus would be helpful, too.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

Reality is stranger than fiction. The hype of resale doesn’t match the enormous cost to be profitable. ThredUp lays off 15% of its corporate workforce as Q2 losses widen is the real story here.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The reality is that resale retail should be more vocal about why they're a good choice. They have the claim to sustainability, why not leverage it?"
"At this point I would focus more on creative curation than trying to get consumers to leave competitors."
"ThredUP’s determination to validate its business model and turn a profit has unleashed some aggressive and clever marketing."

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