Luxury fashion brands did not even recognize the existence of sales a decade ago. Brands would prefer to dispose of excess goods than sell them at consignment rates. More brands are now partnering with companies that sell used goods due to rising popularity of secondhand buying in recent years. This culminated in Kering, the luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and other brands, purchasing a 5 percent stake of Vestiaire Collective. Vestiaire Collective is a well-known luxury consignment store. This deal marks a significant shift in the relationship between luxury consignment and resale.

assorted-brand product lot near window

Fanny Moizant is the Vestiaire Collective’s co-founder, president and CEO. “There has been a shift over the past few years in the way brands think about resale,” she says. According to Allison Sommer, the RealReal’s Allison Sommer, this shift is significant. “In the past there was a misperception that resale couldnibalize the primary market. Sommer states that the majority of our community shops in the primary market. Sommer says that most of our community shops the primary market.

Kering aside, there were many notable partnerships last month between designers and resale businesses. Victor Glemaud’s first shoe collaboration with Shekudo, a Nigerian accessory brand, was exclusively published on The RealReal during NYFW. The company partnered with concept fashion label Imitation of Christ to sell its spring 21 collection exclusively on the luxury consignment website. Designer Christian Siriano pulled two dresses out of his past collections from ThredUP, before altering them and sending them down to the runway with new pieces. It would have been hard to imagine a brand wearing secondhand clothes in years past. It’s now a way for brands signal their commitment to responsible and sustainable practices.

Siriano says, “I have always loved thrifting and believe that it is one of the greatest things we can do for our planet.” Siriano previously worked with the online thrift store and consignment site to create the Thrift Logo. I believe that reuse is the future of fashion. I wanted to make bold statements by showing used clothes alongside the new and show the world that thrifted clothes can have a place in New York Fashion Week. Fashion designers don’t have to always promote new looks.

Depop’s sustainability commitment is based on this thought process. The Gen Z resale market enlists designers that use pre-existing material. The company recently partnered with Kenneth Nicholson to create Division 332, a line of deadstock fabric. Nicholson told us that Depop was interested in the capsule collection because of their commitment towards sustainability. “I believe that luxury items and items of value don’t have to be made from the most expensive or rarest materials.

assorted clothes on clothes stand

There are also brands that partner with resale websites to dispose of surplus product. Mara Hoffman, a sustainable fashion brand, teamed up with The RealReal to sell their archive in July. This was to help them stay afloat during the pandemic. Hoffman supported customers who purchase her clothing secondhand even before this sale. “A garment’s lifespan should not end when one person has finished with it. It is possible to design timeless, high-quality pieces but people will change their minds. It is unrealistic to expect that someone will hold onto a piece of clothing for ever. Hoffman says that resale platforms allow garments to have a second life and keep them out of landfills. Full Circle Marketplace is an in-house resale marketplace that purchases and sells Mara Hoffman clothing. Hoffman says, “As a brand we are committed to the longevity of all our garments.” “Our goal is for our customers to wear their Mara Hoffman pieces as long as they can, and then when they feel ready, let them go.

Sommer claims that since The RealReal started working with Stella McCartney, a sustainability pioneer, more retailers have begun to reconsider their relationship to resale. Sommer states that brands started to approach us to discuss ways they could work together and that the number of conversations has increased each year. The RealReal, a joint venture with Gucci, launched an online store in October. It featured pieces from the luxury brand as well as a selection of consignor-sourced pre-loved items. Sommer says that it is powerful to have one of the most recognizable luxury brands encourage its community into the circular economy. Vestiaire and Alexander McQueen teamed up to create a buyback program in February that allowed customers selling their used pieces for store credit.

A 2020 Vestiaire Collective and BCG survey found that 62% of respondents would prefer to purchase from brands that work with resale websites. Moizant states that consumers can increase their engagement with the house by buying and selling secondhand brands. This adds lifetime value to the house. This means that if you are aware that luxury pieces can have multiple lives, you will be more inclined to spend more on them, engage in circular fashion practices, or become a loyal customer.

brown leather boots on brown wooden table

We can expect more partnerships such as this, given that resale’s rise has been driven primarily by the desire of younger consumers to be sustainable. Brands would be wise to engage in resale in any capacity as Gen Z’s purchasing power increases. This could be in the form partnerships with resale websites or in-house take back programs.

Steve Dool, head of brand partnerships at Depop, says that although resale isn’t the panacea for all the industry’s issues regarding overproduction and waste, it can help move towards a circular fashion system that is more sustainable. Designers, particularly emerging and independent talent, must take responsibility for the garments they make after they leave their warehouses or stores. Designers are actively taking steps to extend the life of their clothes by making durable pieces that can be resold and engaging directly with customers who are already investing in circular consumption.

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