British Luxury Sustainability Report | The Case Studies: The Mulberry Exchange

Closing the loop on luxury bags.

Following the recent launch of the British Luxury Sustainability Report, we are profiling the brands featured in the report each Wednesday, and how they are pledging their commitment to a more sustainable future. This week, we continue our focus on the Circular Economy with The Mulberry Exchange and hear from the brand’s Global Marketing and Digital Director, Charlotte O’Sullivan.

Artisans at Mulberry’s bustling Somerset Repair Centre have been restoring customers’ much-loved
bags daily for decades, drawing on 35 years of leather archives and a treasure trove of hardware components including zips, clips and studs to give these iconic bags a new lease of life. With the launch of the Mulberry Exchange at London Fashion Week in February 2020, Mulberry has added a new service to its existing lifetime restoration offering. This dedicated circular economy programme allows customers to return their Mulberry bag in exchange for a credit note towards a new purchase. These pre-loved bags are then refurbished and restored, before being offered for resale.

Originally available in London and New York, the scheme has expanded across the UK, and from April 2021, Mulberry customers globally will be offered the opportunity to take advantage of the service and buy restored pieces through Mulberry.com and the company’s new partnership with Vestiaire Collective.

Increasingly, we’re observing a real trend towards a thriving secondary market for luxury bags,” says Charlotte O’Sullivan, Global Marketing and Digital Director, Mulberry.

“The Mulberry Exchange responds to consumers’ desire for high quality vintage luxury and a growing interest in restoration and repair. We’re enabling new audiences to access our bags, while building on our longstanding commitment to crafting bags that are ‘Made to Last’ a lifetime.”

All bags received through the programme are carefully authenticated and appraised, before Mulberry’s skilled artisans begin the creative revival process. Drawing on a deep knowledge of Mulberry craftsmanship – often obtained through years of production experience that may have begun as an apprenticeship – they fashion flawless seams and joins, before polishing for a high quality finish. The Repair Centre currently processes up to 10,000 items each year, and this is expected to increase as more customers are able to access vintage products through The Mulberry Exchange.

“Expanding our focus on pre-loved bags is more than business diversification,” concludes O’Sullivan.

“Our restoration and repair journey is ultimately part of our strategy for Mulberry to thrive within a circular economy, conserving natural resources and ensuring our products can find a second, third or even fourth home, or handed down from generation to generation.”

Mulberry Exchange.
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