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E-commerce

Secondhand luxe site expands Down Under

Secondhand fashion site Vestiaire Collective is ramping up its presence in Australia, where it says its environmentally-friendly business model holds strong appeal.

“Vestiaire is consciously committed to reselling authentic and quality products in the marketplace to work towards a cleaner, greener and circular fashion and textile economy,” Vestiaire Collective said in a statement about its expansion Down Under.

Founded in Paris in 2009, Vestiaire Collective is an online marketplace specialising in secondhand luxury fashion, handbags, jewellery and other accessories.

With offices now in London, New York and Hong Kong, the business is expanding globally, and Asia Pacific represents a core area of growth.

After opening the site to shoppers in Asia Pacific, including Australia last year, Vestiaire Collective has now turned on its ‘selling’ functionality in the region.

The move is likely to encourage more Australians to purchase from the site, since local options reduce the hassle of returning items if they don’t fit or aren’t as advertised.

While Vestiaire Collective trades exclusively in pre-owned products, it does allow items purchased from “professional sellers” to be returned, but not “private sellers”.

The ability to return items purchased online is considered a non-negotiable for most retailers, but consumers seem willing to give secondhand marketplaces a pass, perhaps due to their unique product range – many items on secondhand marketplaces are hard-to-find vintage pieces – and lower price points.

Second-fashion firms on the rise

Analysts point out that secondhand marketplaces also benefit from consumers’ growing awareness of the environmental impact of fashion manufacturing.

According to Gumtree’s annual Second Hand Economy Report, used goods are now a $43.5 billion market in Australia

All of this has driven a surge in second-fashion marketplaces in recent years.

Thredup, The RealReal, Depop and Vestiaire Collective are just a few examples of the players in the space.

While some, such as The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective, specialise in luxury, others target specific age groups. Depop, for instance, is known for being a Gen Z and millennial-favourite.

For those that specialise in luxury, authentication has emerged as a key hurdle.

Since even used luxury goods command a higher price than new items from most high street brands, customers want to know they are getting the real thing. This concern extends beyond secondhand to major marketplaces like Alibaba, where the prevalence of counterfeit goods has made many high-end brands wary of embracing the platform.

However, some of Australia’s most notable designers, including Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning of P.E Nation, Alice McCall and Michelle Glew-Ross of My General Store and Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs, have actually partnered with Vestiaire Collective to celebrate its expansion in Australia.

Each designer has curated a collection of pieces from their personal and brand wardrobes that are available for purchase on the site.

Proceeds from the sale of the Designer Series Collection will go to Fashion Revolution, a social enterprise that aims to support a fairer, safer, more transparent and accountable fashion industry.

“The circular economy and resale is firmly taking hold in the fashion industry and for good reason, clothes that are made to last should see multiple lifetimes,” said Melinda Tually, Fashion Revolution country coordinator in Australia.

“We owe it to those who make our clothes and the resources that have gone into them to ensure we extend their use as much as we can.”

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