Cancelled garment orders in Bangladesh can be saved from landfill thanks to Lost Stock, a British initiative that allows consumers to order clothes directly from textile factories in "surprise boxes".
Billions in stock
Due to the coronavirus crisis and the mandatory closure of physical clothing stores during lockdown, many large retailers have been forced to cancel orders placed in textile factories in low-wage countries such as Bangladesh. It is estimated that they have cancelled more than two billion euros worth of orders and that several billion unsold garments are stored in warehouses.
With the textile industry accounting for nearly 85 % of Bangladesh's exports and millions of workers losing their wages, the founder of the British purchasing application Mallzee is now launching Lost Stock, a short chain initiative for unsold stock. Cally Russell has partnered with a local NGO and aims to help 50,000 affected families by the end of the year.
68,000 boxes sold
Lost Stock works offers surprise boxes, which contain three tops (T-shirts, shirts or blouses) directly from the factories. These are all items made for well-known brands and retailers who then cancelled their orders, such as Topshop or C&A. Each box costs 39 pounds (including postage costs), and should have an estimated sales value of at least 70 pounds. Nearly 40 % of the proceeds from the sale of the boxes are donated by the NGO.
Buyers can indicate certain preferences (colours, size, age), but do not know what they will receive. The boxes are currently only delivered to the United Kingdom, but due to the great success since the launch about two weeks ago, Russell is already considering expansion. 68,000 boxes have already been sold, more than the annual target. The founder now plans to expand to other countries and offer children's clothing packages.