With increasing talks of climate change, sustainable food, and zero-waste lifestyles, it was only a matter of time before we reached the subject of fashion waste. The clothes we purchase and toss out account for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, according to the United Nations. Brands, big and small alike, are beginning to realize their responsibility on this front and making further effort to produce more environmentally-conscious apparel.
The growing list of sustainable fashion supporters include Reformation, H&M, Stella McCartney, Veja, and more. Burberry has committed not to burn anymore of its unsold stocks in 2018. Fashion-driven medium Vogue Business has dedicated an entire section to spreading awareness on sustainable fashion. But are these efforts enough? If we’re to come even close to carbon-neutrality, a handful of companies certainly isn’t.
The rise of pre-owned fashion
This is where the booming secondhand industry comes in. More and more shoppers are shifting to resale shops to sate their need for basic clothing and lately, even designer goods.
In 2018, there was a $10 billion gap between fast fashion retailers and the resale market, with the former leading $35 billion. By 2028, however, the purchase of used items may overtake that amount with a projected $64 billion as compared to the fast fashion’s estimated $44 billion, reports CNBC.
The public desire to buy brand new clothing is decreasing and this is led by millennial and boomer buyers. Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh had even made a prediction that secondhand wares will replace streetwear in the next decade. The market is reacting to these demands and as a result, businesses are investing in the future. Neiman Marcus has bought into minority stakes at luxury reseller Fashionphile, while Foot Locker shelled out $100 million to invest in shoe reseller GOAT, reports Fast Company.
It's something for luxury brands to consider, too. If fear of losing exclusivity and the desire to buy full-priced designer products is holding them back, there is also the opportunity to attract new patrons, since many first-time luxury customers buy into pre-owned products before they can afford to buy from stores directly.
Market trends include secondhand beauty products, as well as online stores.
The trends in reselling are diversifying, as well. You may imagine the actual establishments of brick and mortar thrift shops, but the resale market is taking a more digital approach. Apps and websites are dominating the pre-owned industry. Websites such as ThredUp, The RealReal, and Depop are making it easier for those on PCs to browse and buy, while apps such as Fashionphile, Rebelle, and Vestiaire Collective are taking away business from your usual shopping platforms. They’re also doing a great job of luring in community members and sellers by persuading them to declutter and help them find new homes for their once-loved designer goods. It’s almost as if it were the resurgence of eBay once more. Vestiaire Collective raises costs by nearly two percent for its authentication process, which ensures online shoppers that they’re paying for the real deal.
Since then, the beauty industry has jumped on the movement and is raising its eco-conscious efforts. Platforms such as Glambot provide beauty junkies with a space to market their unused, unopened, or barely used skincare and makeup products. Special services ensure that the used products pass hygiene standards and aren’t on the brink of expiration. A study commissioned by Vogue Business discovered just how much millennials and Gen Z consumers were in favor of a good bargain.
Filipinos spend more on clothing, and resale businesses are taking advantage.
Statista has found that Filipinos are allotting more of their monthly budget to clothing and that the local retail scene has enjoyed a 5.5 percent growth in 2018. This increase may seem small but it’s a foot in the door for retailers to make their sales pitch.
As for secondhand stores in the Philippines, we’re not so far behind. There’s a variety of curated online shops peddling vintage fashion on Instagram. Mellon Collie offers more items reminiscent of the ‘60s and ‘70s, while account Fits Ya Good provides its customers with edgier pieces at reasonable prices. The recent relaunching of Japanese-style resale store It’s Vintage in Legazpi Village can be taken as a sign that the Philippine market is ready for bigger things the pre-owned realm.