If finding new uses for old stuff is one of the core tenets of a sustainable business, some young influencers are taking that idea to the bank – by giving old fashions a new lease on life.
Millions of teens and twenty-somethings have embraced an app called Depop to buy and sell vintage shoes, accessories, or an old band t-shirt that’s been gathering dust at the back of a closet.
Some are clearing out old stuff. Others shop at thrift stores to build inventory. By buying and selling second-hand clothes, they are helping fuel a boom in a trendy corner of the global retail market.
“If you’ve got a style, you can find it at a great price from any decade and it gives you the ability to do your own outfit,” said retail analyst Mary Epner. “And that’s what the young generation, Generation Z and Millennials want to do.”
A pair of 1990s jeans from Goodwill might only cost a few dollars, but those purchases add up. The U.S. second-hand clothing market is estimated to double to $77 billion within five years, growing much faster than other retail, according to online thrift store ThredUp.
Ten-year-old Depop, now a subsidiary of Etsy, calls itself a progressive and diverse “fashion ecosystem” and boasts more than 30 million registered users, nearly all under age 26.
Twenty-year-old Moira Campos – her Depop store The Rise of Moira, has 40,000 followers – spends about $1000 a month on women’s tops and other clothing. She reportedly earns between $5000 and $7000 a month through the app.
“I mean, I sourced from thrift stores, so it’s basically giving the clothes a second life,” Campos said. “That really matters to me and also to my customers.”
With her brother’s help, the online fashionista buys the clothes, models them, creates the listings, and ships the items out.
And in the future? Within a few years, she wants to springboard from Depop to her own fashion brand, says Campos.
- Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska, Writing by Nick Zieminski, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, of Reuters.