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Startups

Japanese startup weaves gold from unsold apparel

Nagoya company sells brand-name clothing under new label

Fine CEO Yukari Kato transformed her once-indebted startup into an innovator in clothing resale. (Photo by Koji Uema)

TOKYO -- Each year in Japan, more than 1.5 billion items of clothing are left to languish in stockrooms and the warehouses after failing to catch the eye of the country's legions of discerning fashionistas.

Many designer labels refuse to sell the leftover clothes at a deep discount to avoid giving a cheap image to their brand. Instead, they opt to destroy the inventory.

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