Collaborative Fund began with a thesis that a sharing economy would emerge to monetize underutilized assets and ensure more efficient and sustainable consumption of resources. In line with this, we’ve made several investments crossing a range of industries including: cars (Lyft and Getaround), home goods and accessories (Joymode), and professional services (Taskrabbit and Thumbtack).
With our latest investment in For Days – a membership-based ecommerce business that uses renewable materials to create insanely great clothing and a closed-loop business model to increase their use – we enter an industry with some of the highest rates of waste and pollution: apparel.
In this zero-waste model, customers get brand-new beautiful tees, and pay a small fee whenever they want to refresh them by returning them to the company. For Days takes in your returns, recycles them into new product by breaking down the fiber, making new yarn, and selling the new tees to other customers, completing the loop and eliminating landfill waste. All from the For Days facilities in Los Angeles, you can enjoy a high volume of high-value clothing that is meant to be worn and loved over the long term, saving money, closet space, and a whole bunch of carbon emissions.
In order to arrive at our thesis on why For Days and its closed loop model are going to transform the apparel industry, we needed to understand how this industry became one of the biggest sources of waste. Over the last thirty years, the globalization of supply chains has turned fashion into a high-volume, low-value business. With access to cheap labor in emerging markets and consumer pressure for trendy options, fast fashion quickly came to dominate the industry, leaving an unbelievable amount of pollution and wasted resources in its wake. In addition to the environmental problems, there is significant economic value loss, with an estimated $500B worth of clothing lost every year to landfills. To create a sustainable textiles economic, clothes will need to be made from safe and renewable materials, new business models will need to increase their use and, eventually, businesses will need to leverage automation to erase the cost benefits of manufacturing abroad.
So far, most companies have sought to either innovate on the materials or the business model, with few successfully combining the two. We’ve been excited to witness the emergence of companies reclaiming materials to turn them into beautiful items, cutting out the connection to the traditional textiles industry altogether. Rothy’s, Girlfriend Collective, and now Everlane are sourcing raw materials that would otherwise be destined for landfills and upcycling them into new footwear and apparel. While upcycling processes are currently limited by a lack of established supply chains that can efficiently process waste like plastic bottles and bags, we believe that innovations in material science to create more sustainable clothing will continue to evolve and claim a bigger market share in the future.
Now, more than ever, we need businesses like For Days to exist and we couldn’t be more excited to join Kristy and Mary on this journey.