Growing up, Fanny Moizant spent a lot of time in her mother’s fashion boutique in the south of France, so it’s no surprise she went on to create Vestiaire Collective, one of the largest luxury resale platforms in the world. Here, she shares insights into changing attitudes around second-hand clothing, and the role of technology in promoting the circular economy. Inside Retail: You’ve shared that the concept for Vestiaire Collective came from noticing a shift in how people were consumin
ming fashion – buying more and wearing less. How do you believe the retail industry, particularly in the luxury segment, can adapt to these changes?Fanny Moizant: We do see that the demand for second-hand luxury fashion items will continue to increase because of different reasons. In our latest Vestiaire Collective x BCG Report, we observed that sustainability became the second driver to buy and sell second-hand for 40 per cent of consumers, right after affordability, which decreased year on year. At Vestiaire Collective, sustainability has always been a key part of the discussion while growing. We keep expanding globally but we make sure to control our carbon intensity; for example, we create local warehouses to promote local transactions as much as possible, such as our warehouse in Tsing Yi [Hong Kong]. As for the fashion industry itself, we do foresee that brands will be more and more innovative and will enter circularity through various ways; for example, using recycled materials or sustainably sourced materials. IR: Vestiaire Collective seems to have embraced the concept of the circular economy early on. Can you talk about how this business model has contributed to the company’s success and what challenges it might pose in the traditional luxury retail landscape? FM: Vestiaire Collective’s second Impact Report demonstrates how circular business models bring much-needed disruption to the fashion industry. Resale is continuing to become normalised as brands like ours break down barriers to adoption, with over 75 per cent of our users saying second-hand fashion is more socially acceptable now than it was five years ago. From our latest Impact Report, we proved that: 82 per cent of resale purchases prevent a first-hand purchase. Buying an item on Vestiaire Collective has a 90 per cent lower environmental impact than buying new. IR: How do you ensure the authenticity and quality of the pre-loved items sold on your platform? FM: We have a team of 140 authenticators globally, who undergo rigorous initial and ongoing training to evaluate a range of items for our members. Every authenticator is required to complete more than 750 hours of training and evaluates around 40,000 products from over 10,000 brands every year. With this rigorous process, we have developed high-end practices, tools and knowledge over the years to authenticate luxury items. IR: With fast-fashion companies being criticised for their environmental impact, how do you think the growth of platforms like Vestiaire Collective is changing consumers’ perspectives on sustainability in the fashion industry? FM: Today’s consumers, from Paris to Hong Kong, are acutely aware of the environmental problems we are facing: from global warming to pollution, as well as fast-fashion’s impact and textile waste. We believe that we are just at the beginning of our circular fashion movement, with millions of members who are now part of our community – and over 25,000 items being listed every day. Together, we embrace our philosophy and mantra: Long Live Fashion. We hope that even more fashion lovers will join our mission to reshape the perception of second-hand, and shake up the fashion industry for a more sustainable future. IR: As Vestiaire Collective expands globally, what cultural nuances have you had to consider when promoting the circular fashion movement in different regions, particularly Asia? FM: Globally, we see that there is a growing interest in sustainability through the growth of the second-hand market. In our Vestiaire Collective x BCG report 2022, [we state that] the global second-hand market is expected to grow from 20-30 per cent annually, and this is being led by Gen Z followed by Millennials. Within the APAC region, the concept of sustainability and second-hand is still growing, compared with North America or Europe. Asian consumers are more interested in very high-end French luxury brands and items – usually in excellent condition. IR: You mentioned your Long Live Fashion mantra. Can you elaborate on the core ideas behind this philosophy and how you hope to influence the industry at large? FM: At Vestiaire Collective, our values are deeply rooted in our day-to-day work and interactions. Our values are fashion, trust, community and activism and these are at the core of our culture. Fourteen years ago, we had a radical idea: to fight fashion waste by giving a second life to the clothes we no longer wear, hence our philosophy, Long Live Fashion. Now we’re taking our ambitions to the next level. Fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries, and clothing consumption is set to rise 63 per cent by 2030; however, despite the rise in consumption, today we wear our items 40 per cent less than we did a decade ago. This creates an alarming increase in fashion waste, leading to overproduction and overconsumption. Our mission, therefore, is to transform the fashion industry for a more sustainable future by empowering our community of fashion activists to drive change. We started Vestiaire Collective out of our shared love for fashion, and because we believe that the future of fashion depends not just on the companies and brands that produce it but also on ourselves as consumers. With the projected rise in clothing consumption by 2030, we need to inspire consumers to be more intentional when it comes to buying new items, which is why we educate and encourage them to buy fewer items, but of higher quality. IR: What role do you think technology plays in fostering a more sustainable fashion industry, and how has Vestiaire Collective used technology in promoting the circular economy? FM: We always look for the most user-friendly, convenient and technologically advanced solutions for our members. One of our latest technological advancements came through a unique partnership with Chloé and the use of digital ID to trace the origin of materials. This innovative digital ID, a technology powered by EON, allows users to scan the labels of products with a smartphone, granting them the ability to trace their item from field to finished piece, and access their ownership certificate, which allows direct resale through Vestiaire Collective, as well as care and repair information. Three product categories are included – bags, shoes and ready-to-wear – with a focus on four key materials – linen, silk, wool and leather. We are very proud of this collaboration, which marks another step towards circularity and transparency in luxury fashion. IR: As a mother, do you think the next generation’s approach to fashion consumption will differ from ours, and if so, how can we better educate them about sustainable fashion practices? FM: Consumers in Hong Kong and around the globe, especially among Gen Z and Millennials, are very tech savvy and feel comfortable using apps to purchase pre-loved goods. At the same time, they are already very conscious about their social and environmental impact in the way they manage their lifestyle, so it made sense for us to enter that market. One way of educating and inspiring them to live more sustainably is showing them the negative impact of overconsumption and overproduction on our planet, and encouraging them to fight against these harmful practices by presenting them with more environmentally friendly fashion and lifestyle solutions. IR: You’ve previously spoken about taking a “one-in, one-out” approach when it comes to your personal wardrobe. How does this mindset align with the broader goals of Vestiaire Collective, and how do you encourage consumers to adopt a similar approach? FM: I always thrive to keep a minimal wardrobe and to live by the “one in, one out” mantra. This is fully aligned with our mission at Vestiaire Collective – to buy fewer but better-quality items and to fully appreciate the pieces that we own.