L.A. Designer Recycles Shirts For Holiday Charity

Looking to recycle designer duds this holiday season? If you’re a fan of Los Angeles designer James Perse, look no further than your nearest James Perse store.

Through Jan.1, the company will accept old brand-name T-shirts for recycling. Shoppers will get store credit, and shirts will be spruced up and donated to Beyond Shelter, an L.A. nonprofit that gets homeless families back on their feet.

L.A. designer James Perse is calling on Los Angeles residents to donate their worn-out T-shirts to support Beyond Shelter. Photo: James Perse

“It’s about the holidays and how to give back,” said Noah Stone, communications director at James Perse. He noted that recycling and charitable giving align with the brand’s philosophy, which he described as “very L.A.— that beachy, California lifestyle – laid back, but with a component of environmental concern.”

Participants who bring old James Perse T-shirts to a company-owned store will receive $10 in-store credit, applicable to purchases made in that same store visit. Maximum credit granted will be $50, for five shirts. The T-shirts will then be “reconditioned, redyed and donated to Beyond Shelter.” Additional donations are also accepted.

Clothing drives to benefit the homeless are a holiday season staple, and in-store garment recycling is a growing trend. Yet James Perse chose to partner with Beyond Shelter for a specific reason: the organization’s focus on children.

“We really wanted to be able to give shirts to both adults and children, and Beyond Shelter is unique and amazing in that they work exclusively with homeless families,” Stone said. The nonprofit’s core mission is to get needy families into permanent housing, with an additional emphasis on childcare, jobs and educational enrichment.

More homeless people reside on the streets of Los Angeles than in any other American city. Its 48,000 homeless people have earned the city “its designation as the homeless capital of America,” the New York Times reports.

As with other in-store clothing drives, the James Perse program is a win-win for everyone involved. Fans of the designer get an in-store discount; homeless Angelenos get to wear James Perse’s famously soft, minimalist T-shirts and fewer worn-out shirts will end up in the trash. As for the company itself, it should enjoy a sales boost and earn kudos for its eco-friendly efforts.

The recycling program is “a first foray into reducing our footprint,” Stone said, an “experiment” the company hopes to repeat in the future. While the recycling program is a first for the retailer, environmentalism isn’t: In the past, James Perse has partnered with the Surfrider Foundation, a California nonprofit that works to protect oceans and the coastline.

James Perse clothing is available at Saks and Nordstrom, but the recycling program and discount only apply to company-owned stores.

In-store recycling programs are on the rise, so even if you’re not a James Perse fan, watch for initiatives at your favorite retailers. You may already have hit up one of Gap’s phenomenally successful Recycle Your Blues events or donated old sneakers to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe initiative.

Charitable clothing donations are especially welcome during the holidays and as the weather gets colder. Check out our database to find a Goodwill or Salvation Army branch near you. If you’d like to make a donation to Beyond Shelter, you can do so online. If you’re an Angeleno, you can also participate in the organization’s holiday toy drive.

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