Credential Clothing

Fashion Industry Terms   Glossary

Credential clothing is clothing which has been donated but not yet sorted or graded. Credential clothing can contain a mix of apparel, shoes, and accessories (and possibly other miscellaneous items).

It is unsorted, untouched clothing donations which are left in the exact condition as it was when received from the person providing the donation.  The items donated are typically dropped off in bags to charity organizations and recycling companies.  Credential clothing is often collected in drop boxes (donation bins) which are placed throughout different communities.  Many bins are dispersed in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in hopes to gather fine quality garments.   The goal of credential clothing is to be packed in original plastic bags and that no trash or wet clothing be incorporated within.

Not all recycled clothing is of credential grade. Again, credential clothing, also called “original clothing,” is clothing that people drop off into clothing collection bins, and are sold to distributors without it being graded.

The quality of credential clothing may be of a higher grade than if the bags have been opened and graded.  Graders know how to pick out the top grade items of clothing, shoes (which have a higher value), as well as the valuable vintage items, and then sell them individually at a higher price.  If those items have been removed from the bags, the end distributor does not have the opportunity to pick out those items themselves.  Credential clothing typically gets a higher price at market than graded used clothing for this reason.