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How Resale Business Models Are Changing The Fashion Retail Game For Better

Second-hand ownership isn’t a novel concept. Whether its furniture, automobiles, electronics or clothing, we have all purchased some form of used products in our lifetime. Even the average spendthrift hasn’t been immune to a hand-me-down. In the past, pre-owned could rarely be associated with extravagance but today, the frugal concept has found itself at the epicentre of luxury fashion. 

Second-hand fashion had humble beginnings online with eBay that was conceived in 1995, where turning your old junk into fresh cash become the norm. The famous platform encouraged frugal buyers to negotiate through its bid to buy model, wherein an item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. These items ranged from vintage, collectors artefacts and clothing among many more. Over the decades since eBay’s launch, that very model has been revamped to appeal to the tasteful crowd. At least half a dozen peer-to-peer fashion marketplaces or full-service consignment shops have popped up online, offering a huge and easily accessible selection of used clothes across a range of brands, styles, and price points. Between 2009 and 2011, all the famous fashion “re-commerce” companies we’ve come to love today like ThredUp, Vestiaire Collective, Threadflip, Depop, Poshmark, and The RealReal had set up shop. These platforms invite consignors to send in their items from luxury labels, as well as some non-luxury but still high-demand brands. The items are then undergone immense scrutiny to weed out any counterfeits and are accordingly authenticated to be sold at 50-70% mark downs from their original price.

In 2018, the global luxury resale market was valued at USD 16.23 Billion and is projected to reach USD 68.53 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 15.53% from 2019 to 2026. The growing popularity has even urged luxury retail giant Nordstrom to follow suit with their newly minted “See You Tomorrow” an apparel resale shop curated with with cleaned, repaired and refurbished items from high-end labels. 

Between 2000 and 2015, production in the fashion industry doubled and the average shopper bought 60% more clothing too, but used each product for about half as long, according to research from consulting firm McKinsey. Resale has prompted a movement in reuse and recycle that could potentially help resolve fashion’s waste problem. With luxury retailers opting for re-commerce, it won’t be long before the idea of pre-owned could actually become universally acceptable and aspirational. Resale could additionally stop brand-hungry consumers from turning towards counterfeits when lightly used second-hand options are available at the tip of their fingers for a fraction of the cost. 

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-02-18

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