We know that online technology has radically changed the way we shop. Soon drones will drop off our Net-a-Porter packages like those friendly white storks delivering babies in imaginary times past. There’s already a drone service in China, zooming products—not people—to remote villages. It’s also likely that fashion behemoths like Gucci and Louis Vuitton will eventually collaborate with luxury car companies to offer Uber-like autonomous vehicles for the ultimate transported branding experiences. But before we dream of a particular dramatic party entrance (rocking up astride a self-driving Chanel-upholstered Harley Davidson) there’s a far more unassuming trend gathering momentum. It’s making highly-coveted luxury items a little more accessible for a much larger portion of eager shoppers. Along the way the explosion of the luxury consignment market, worth an estimated $1.5 trillion dollars, is prompting much-needed conversations around sustainability, circular fashion systems and the possible longevity of the fanny pack.
“We are unlocking a supply of $230 billion worth of luxury goods in people’s homes and we’ve only just scratched the surface,” says Rati Levesque, chief merchant at TheRealReal, the e-commerce platform that’s sold over 8 million items since its 2011 inception by CEO Julie Wainwright, and boasts 9 million shoppers to date. Rival online consignment destination, Vestiaire, with over 7 million shoppers is booming at much the same rate. Both platforms embrace creative styling and thoughtful curation to reinforce their core message that pre-owned goods are just as precious, sometimes more so, than new ones—second hand is no longer second best.
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