Today is National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, a.k.a. the perfect day to celebrate a few of our favorite things: getting dressed, wasting less and creating a more sustainable future of fashion.
As the largest shared designer closet, we love helping you ditch new buys for a planet-friendly way to wear everything you want — and it’s all made possible by our team of experts, who extend the life cycle of every rental via top-notch cleaning and repairs at our Dream Fulfillment Centers (DFC).
Since 2018, our team has completed more than 5.2 million (!!!) repairs to keep rentals in circulation as long as possible, meaning less need for new. This critical work really adds up — as of June 2021 we’ve displaced the need for the production of an estimated 1.3 million new garments and diverted 1.1 million styles from landfill. That’s a huge win for the environment and your wardrobe!
Go behind-the-scenes at our DFC and follow the journey of a garment, from the time it’s unpacked from your garment bag to when it’s ready to be rented and worn again.
THE JOURNEY OF A GARMENT
STEP 1: RECEIVING
When a garment bag is first received back at one of our Dream Fulfillment Centers, our associates unpack and separate the rentals, hangers and poly garment covers. A robot then transfers those rentals across the DFC to…you guessed it, another robot!
STEP 2: SORTING & CLEANING
The aforementioned second robot separates bins of rentals into single units and reads each unique RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag to sort garments into up to 26 different types of cleaning programs — wet cleaning, dry cleaning and different features like temperature, cycle time, mechanical action, chemistry and more. It’s like sorting loads of laundry, but waaay more specific and backed by more than a decade of data to ensure that our cleaning process is as efficient as possible.
Fun fact: dry cleaning isn’t actually dry. It’s just waterless! When clothes are placed in a dry cleaning machine, they’re being immersed in a dry cleaning solvent that’s effectively pulling out any grime from the fabric. The solvent is evaporated back off of the clothing into the machine and is totally reusable!
STEP 3: INSPECTION
Each garment is then hung and inspected by a member of our team to identify any stains or damage that didn’t get removed during the first cycle. Garments that need a little extra TLC are then passed to our experts in spot cleaning and/or repairs to be fixed up so that they can continue being rented, worn and loved by you.
BY THE NUMBERS:
- 400,000: The approximate number of stains we’ve worked on in the past year.
- >2 million: The approximate number of defects we’ve identified at quality control & fixed before sending to customers this year.
STEP 4: SPOT CLEANING
When we say we clean up nicely, we mean it. Only around 10% of garments ever need further stain treatment after the first cleaning cycle — our specialized cycles are that effective!
The technical skills honed by our experts are somewhere between chemistry and art. And that’s not an overstatement — have you seen our TikTok?! Masters of stain removal, like our technical lead Fawaz, can not only identify a type of stain, but instantly know its chemical makeup and how to remove it.
PRO TIP: Cleaning is best done right the first time — so drop that detergent pen! When it comes to stain removal, Fawaz says, “Leave it to us!” Treating a stain before returning a garment to RTR can actually “cause more damage, and makes it harder for us.”
STEP 5: REPAIRS
After cleaning, garments with any other type of damage are sent to repairs. Here, our experts fix a wide variety of issues, from loose buttons and missing sequins to replacing faulty zippers and mending tears.
Did you know that rentals are actually handled by our repairs team long before they need to be mended? We implement our own data and testing to reinforce new inventory before it’s available to rent, so that it’s more durable for the rental process. This lengthens the life cycle from the start and enables it to be worn even longer than originally possible.
BY THE NUMBERS
Onhand at the DFC, our repairs team has:
- 1500+ types of buttons in countless colors
- 8+ types of zippers in 100s of colors & shades
- 3+ types of threads in ~80 colors & shades
- And so much more!
STEP 6: PRESSING & BAGGING
Once garments are cleaned and repaired, they’re steamed and placed in a poly garment cover to protect the garment from damage. These covers serve an important role while stored in our DFC, preserving the quality and improving the longevity of garments until the next time they’re rented and shipped out. We recycle 100% of poly covers through our third party partner Trex, who in turn uses them for wood alternative decking.
STEP 7: PICKING, PACKING & SHIPPING
Garments are picked from storage and carefully packed into reusable garment bags, then shipped out to you.
STEP 8: NOW, BACK TO YOU!
You know the drill. Rent, wear, return, repeat!