The t-shirt brand For Days is using a subscription model that is challenging the fashion industry’s “Buy New” and “Buy More” values. Kristy Caylor, the founder of the brand, spent years working in the fashion industry, yet she was unable to answer the question of “What happens to clothes when we are done wearing them?” This is the basis of her newest venture.
The online store is modelled as a virtual drawer. In the drawer, consumers can choose from a 3, 6, or 10 t-shirt subscription. Each plan comes with a monthly fee and unlimited exchanges. Memberships start at $12 for unlimited access to the organic cotton t-shirts. The brand offers basics for men and women and in several colours.
Every t-shirt can be worn without worry. Regardless of stains, stretching, or ripping, For Days will replace the t-shirt with a new one at any time. The customer just needs to click “refresh” on the t-shirt of their choice in their virtual drawer. Upon the receipt of a new t-shirt, the company will take the old and unworn t-shirts back. They upcycle the shirts and use them to make new products.
The closed-loop system allows for the brand to innovate a space in the fashion industry where old fabrics and clothing can be used to make something new. They even share the process they use to upcycle. First, they cut the t-shirt. Then, the cotton is cleaned and returned to pulp. New cotton is then mixed with the upcycled cotton and new yarn is produced. Finally, new products are made with this yarn.
The business model behind For Days seems ironic, since it encourages consumers to refresh their t-shirts as often as they please, while flaunting sustainable values. On the surface, this may seem like a sustainable company that is contradicting its principles. However, with further analysis, it is a reality that consumers replace these types of basics with relative frequency. According to Caylor, “The average American buys ten t-shirts a year and throws away six.” So, her company embraces this frequent consumption of basics in the most responsible way possible. By upcycling all of their old products, the company ensures that their production is not wasteful.
Caylor raises a valid argument that the basics market has not evolved in decades, yet they are the items that are the foundation of our wardrobes, which are most likely to wear out. Although the brand has just launched and it only features t-shirts and tank tops, Caylor hopes to expand to other cotton basics, such as socks and loungewear.