The New Resale Market

  • by Scarlet Destiny Admin

The fashion industry’s move towards a more sustainable position, economic challenges from the pandemic and a new-found positive public sentiment towards second hand goods all seem to conspire to pose a new threat to mainstream retail, especially luxury retail. However, luxury brands are finally realising there is a business opportunity in embracing these trends and that, where they have resisted and policed the resale of their goods in the past, they are now welcoming it.

In fact, the luxury resale movement is experiencing record growth, The RealReal reported six million new members in the past year and the same numbers for Vestiaire Collective. While most luxury brands have historically remained on the sidelines of the resale market by fear of diluting the exclusivity of their brands, they are now not only embracing the market, but partnering with resale marketplaces too.

For example, in February 2021, Vestiaire Collective introduced its “Brand Approved” buyback program with Alexander McQueen. The initiative works by Alexander McQueen boutiques offering store credit for the brand’s current collection in exchange for past-season pieces, which are in turn inspected and resold online. 

A few months later, Gucci introduced the Gucci Vault, a virtual concept store, now on its sixth drop, that houses a curated selection of designs from emerging designers with restored vintage Gucci pieces handpicked by Alessandro Michele. 

In October 2021, French fashion house Jean-Paul Gaultier announced it will soon be renting out its extensive archive for customers to borrow, while its revamped website features a resale category, where it will sell vintage pieces.

In the same month, Valentino too has entered luxury resale with its “Valentino Vintage” initiative, encouraging vintage Valentino items to be submitted to a selection of stores around the world in exchange for store credit to spend in the Italian brand's boutiques. This year, the brand will also be showcasing a major vintage exhibition in Qatar.

Most recently, Oscar De La Renta launched with Encore, another resale platform launched last November 2021, giving consumers the option to purchase vintage runway designs from his past collections.. It has allowed the luxury label to not only exercise full brand control online, but also to take back ownership of its items long after they were initially purchased.

Burberry also briefly partnered with luxury rental and resale platform My Wardrobe HQ, by donating 30 items to the platform and gave 40% of each purchase to Smart Works, a UK charity that provides interview clothes and support for unemployed women. This was just a one off for the brand, although there are rumours of plans to launch rental and resale with the same platform.

This September 2022, Balenciaga has partnered with Reflaunt on a resale programme of its pre-owned clothing and accessories. This will allow users to resell their Balenciaga items via a new website, where uploaded and accepted items will be collected in participating regions. The process is entirely managed by Reflaunt, who take care of photography, pricing, listing and shipping across their global network of second-hand channels.

Sustainability and consumer demand for companies to make it a priority is an obvious driver of luxury brands' sudden and immense interest in resale. While extending the lifespan of a fashion piece is a way to achieve circularity, the quality of a luxury product is made to be amended and worn again and again and naturally, that is the perfect concept for the resale market.


Accessibility and brand loyalty are two big reasons why entering the resale space is good for business for every luxury brand; and with the second hand market growing four times faster than the primary luxury market, at 12% per year versus 3%, according to the Statista Research Department, it’s almost as if the luxury fashion industry doesn’t really have a choice.


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