Luxury

Crazy for Consignment: The Rise of Recycled Luxury

The explosion of the luxury consignment market is starting much-needed conversations about sustainability, circular fashion systems and the possible longevity of the fanny pack.

By Angela Ledgerwood

Luxury

The explosion of the luxury consignment market is starting much-needed conversations about sustainability, circular fashion systems and the possible longevity of the fanny pack.

By Angela Ledgerwood

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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