The Next Closet: Discovering the Untapped Potential of Circular Luxury

Collaborating with luxury brands so they can take control of their secondhand goods and play a role in the vintage revival

case study

The Challenge

The Next Closet is a marketplace for pre-loved designer fashion. Every season, while one trend after another is strutting down the runway, wardrobes are getting fuller and wallets are getting thinner. Not an ideal situation.

Via The Next Closet’s online platform users can sell their pre-owned designer fashions or shop other people’s closets. Since the company launched in 2013 this has proven to be a widely sought out concept.

“The idea that things can be ‘in’ or ‘out’- this is dangerous. These two things come together and are a dangerous cocktail, they get us drunk on stuff.” – Gwen Cunningham, Lead of the Circle Textiles Programme at Circle Economy and Coordinator for Sustainability at AMFI


As the market for secondhand luxury fashion continues to boom, The Next Closet was anxious to find a way to involve luxury brands in the ever-growing vintage revival. Pre-loved Chanel jackets, vintage Prada bags, and gently worn Jimmy Choos are bought and sold through third-party vendors and re-commerce sites at lightening speed. But can luxury brands themselves take control of their secondhand goods? How could existing re-commerce sites, like The Next Closet, work with luxury brands to launch such a programme? Is the luxury consumer ready for circularity?

The Approach

During the signature event of our Circle Textiles Programme, Beyond Green, organised by Circle Economy and the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, The Next Closet was brave enough to put their real-life zero waste challenges on the table. Together with experts and ambitious AMFI students, they knuckled down and combined their brainpower in an intense 2.5 hour circular fashion hackathon.

“It is very interesting to bring the two worlds together, students have completely different ideas and ambitions compared to industry and when these two worlds collide, brilliant things happen!” – Thalita van Ogtrop, Founder at The Next Closet

The group acknowledged the fact that luxury brands are becoming evermore interested in take-back schemes but do not want to be involved in the logistics. To overcome this obstacle they came up with a solution that would entice luxury brands think beyond the first life of their garments. They proposed for luxury brands to include digital, scannable labels in their garments at the time of production. This would allow consumers, who wish to sell their garment on a re-commerce site, the ability to scan the label and have photos and a description of the garment ready to upload. Additionally, the scannable labels facilitate the reselling of garments while the brands maintain their high-end image without having to be involved in the logistics of resale.

This visual was created by Circle Economy’s visual designer Kay van ‘t Hof. Click the case studies below to see the visuals and read the results from the other three Beyond Green hackathon challenges.

The Next Closet shares in our ambition to make the circular economy a reality.
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