Your Vintage Shopping Is Helping To Save The Planet

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 weeks ago | News

Image: Kate Moss shopping secondhand fashion at a market in Paris, 1993. Image source.

Aside from sheer speed, the formula for fast fashion’s success seems to lie in a combination of newness and affordability. So, it makes sense that the key threat to these big brands now seems to be secondhand fashion. Also characterised by affordability, the secondhand market is steadily on the rise right now – not least of all because we’re throwing away more clothes than ever before. Which means that there's plenty of newness popping up on resale websites like The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective. 

But could the secondhand market really outpace fast fashion? Certainly, that’s what the numbers suggest. According to San Francisco based online resale company thredUP, secondhand fashion is growing – and fast. As The Fashion Law reports, the resale market has “grown 21 times faster – than the traditional apparel market over the past three years, and is expected to fully outpace fast fashion within the next ten years,” per thredUP’s latest report.

A big part of this has to do with shifting consumer values – particularly the increasing war on waste. San Francisco-based luxury consignment company The RealReal stated in its annual Resale Report this year that sustainability played a major role in its customers’ shopping habits. In fact, 32% of its customers say that they shop secondhand as a replacement for trend-based fast fashion, while 78% claim The RealReal has changed the way they shop and think about planetary impact.

Business of Fashion heralded a similar trend at play in its State of Fashion Report 2019, which is collated in partnership with McKinsey & Company.The lifespan of fashion products is being stretched as pre-owned, refurbished, repaired and rental business models continue to evolve,” wrote BoF earlier this year.

So, can the secondhand fashion players really prove leaner and more agile than big brands like H&M and Zara? All signs suggest that this growing market might just have what it takes to topple fast fashion for good.

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