As more and more people jump onto this life-changing notion that second hand is better, we are not only seeing the way we consume change but also, how brands and retailers are adapting.
I’ve been an avid shopper of preloved and preowned luxury fashion for years. You only need to look back through this blog to see how my love affair with second hand has flourished. The industry has grown exponentially since I’ve been following it and is predicted to get even bigger. Apparently, it’s set to grow fivefold over the next five years – with a projected value of $64bn by 2024. If you juxtapose this with bricks and mortar retail which is shrinking it’s truly extraordinary.
Recently I’ve been struck by just how far the preloved market has come and why it might be more important than buying brand new. As more and more people jump onto this life-changing notion that second hand is better, we are not only seeing the way we consume change, but also how brands and retailers are adapting.
I think the moment I realised shopping preloved isn’t just for the savvy shopper or luxury fashion-aholic anymore, it’s for everyone, is when Selfridges honed in on Second-Hand September. For the first time in the department store’s history they welcomed brands we never would’ve imagined gracing their impenetrable glossy world. The likes of Oxfam in collaboration with fashion editor, Bay Garnett, Depop and Hurr (the rental clothing company) all popped up for the month. When this retail Mecca, synonymous with consumption and luxury, focused its attention on consuming less by either shopping second hand or renting, you quickly realise this is no longer a trend, it’s a lifestyle change.
There’s also a new kind of retailer on the rise, the “Instagram pre-loved store”. With the second-hand market growing so fast, there’s massive opportunity out there and it couldn’t be simpler to seize. I’ve seen a number of women successfully build preloved fashion businesses who buy and sell exclusively across Instagram. So, if you’re a fashion hoarder (like me!) who wants to unload some of your items and are social-media savvy, there’s huge potential to create a very rewarding income stream.
These Instagram store-fronts represent a whole new way of buying and selling which simply wasn’t present 5 years ago. I could easily do a whole blogpost exclusively on this subject, discussing how to create your own preloved Instagram business or which are the best ones to follow and buy / sell through. If this is something you’d like to read or learn more about just let me know.
As price hikes at our favourite luxury brands continue (Chanel has had 2 this year), we are not only being priced out but it’s also zapping all the fun out of shopping. Who wants to feel that wincing, sick feeling in the pit of their stomach when they hand their credit card over to pay?! Instead, preloved shopping not only allows you the opportunity to own wonderfully extravagant things but you also get the thrill of knowing you saved a small fortune. Discovering a unicorn, a luxury piece at a bargain price, that’s something to get excited about.
Finally, people are realising more than ever buying loads of stuff isn’t “cool” anymore. This school of thought was prevalent before the global pandemic but in a world tormented by Covid-19, priorities have changed more than ever. When I buy something, I want to know I’m not adding to the world’s problems and shopping preloved relieves that burden. Underpaid workers, overflowing landfill and climate change threats all play a part in our consumption which second hand shopping partly alleviates.
The truth is the preloved market is booming for a host of reasons, so whether it’s being fiscally responsible, the opportunity to make some money out of your wardrobe, the importance of being environmentally and morally friendly or simply the thrill of it, there are a mountain of reasons why second hand has finally got the upper hand.