From Closet Invasion to Closet Clearance

As a part of growing up, many of us have the experience of inheriting or taking over the clothes of our siblings or sometimes even our parents or other close family members or friends. There must be so many reasons for invading the closet of a close family member or friend. Sometimes we just loved the fitting. Sometimes it is the quality. Sometimes it turned out to look good on us. Sometimes it might also have been a necessity. Sometimes there are emotional strings attached.

It is all hunky-dory as long as closet invasions are within family or very close friends. Things can get a little wishy-washy when it comes to owning a dress or a pair of shoes that belong to a stranger. It might not sound comforting to many people until the sides flipped and they become that ‘stranger’. Suddenly, the game is even-handed as most people frequently experience the need to get rid of their excess or unwanted clothes or footwear or any other fashion merchandise. In addition to charity, they could also sell some of their relatively expensive clothes or footwear. On the buyers’ side, they are able to leap forward in adopting fashion trends at a fraction of market prices provided the quality or condition of the products meet the expectations of buyers. Some of the reasons for adopting pre-loved clothes like sustainability and minimalism are assuming far greater importance than any idea of reluctance to don pre-loved fashion. Commercialisation also plays its fair share in creating a greater societal acceptance level for pre-owned or pre-loved fashion. Today, there are a plethora of accounts on social media platforms that offer pre-loved fashion merchandise.

What is Pre-Loved Fashion?

Pre-loved fashion is a type of fashion styling in which people use clothes, footwear, or any other fashion wear previously owned by someone else. When we say pre-loved clothes or fashion or used luxury clothing or pre-owned designer clothes, it includes products that are in good quality and condition for their expected use. It can also include unique and vintage products (say a particular design of a jeans or shoe brand that it no longer manufactures).

Some categories do not fit into the brackets of ‘pre-loved’ but still count because of the value to the next buyer. Something bought recently (say the original buyer did not like it and there is no time left for return exchange so they offered it for sale via their social media channels) also comes under pre-loved fashion. Pre-loved also includes gifts that the receiver did not like or did not want to keep.

Practically speaking, pre-loved fashion is fashion merchandise changing hands while still in the quality and condition for its intended use. It is not necessary that just because a piece of cloth or pair of shoes is pre-loved or pre-owned will be available at a throwaway price. The pricing also depends on how a seller values something. In many ways selling pre-owned items is like a mini business. You should know the real worth of what you are offering and who realises that worth along with the timing of your offering. For example, there may be fewer buyers of your extra winter clothes in the season of spring or summer. Prevailing local social norms and expectations also affect the demand for and pricing of pre-loved clothes, used luxury clothing, pre-owned designer clothes, and other such fashion merchandise.

Push for Sustainability

The growth of pre-loved fashion is fuelled by several factors and most of them are personal in nature. These include de-cluttering of wardrobes, adoption of minimalism, jumping to fashion trends economically, etc. There is also a growing segment of customers who indulge in the buying and selling of pre-loved fashion to promote sustainability and address environmental concerns often attached to the fashion industry. Buying pre-loved fashion, used luxury clothing, and pre-owned designer clothes reduces the demand for clothes and other fashion merchandise contributing to a reduction in excessive consumerism. In the face of reduced market demand, manufacturers also tend to reduce their production levels in proportionate levels. This, in the bigger picture, has the potential to bring down the carbon footprint of factories, warehouses, offices, and logistics. Such changes might be minimal in the current context but if practised at mass levels across the world, the impact would be quite visible. This will also create a business case for fashion brands, designers, and manufacturers to focus more on sustainable fashion and making fashion sustainable. A stark reminder of conscious consumerism was the pandemic of 2020 that made us appreciate the basic requirements of life and our obese economies went crumbling at that. It is not that new clothes or shoes are not required but it is worth considering if our needs and desires could be also met with pre-owned merchandise. Besides, pre-loved fashion is also a facet of sustainable fashion.

Impact of Demographics

Pre-loved fashion is most popular among GenZ and late Millennials. People from younger age groups tend to remain a little untethered by traditional norms of fashion. This not only applies to their sense of fashion but also to how they buy fashion. Online shopping serves as a suitable example here. Young shoppers show less reluctance in buying clothes and footwear from online channels while people in upper age groups tend to show concerns of validation with online shopping. Pre-loved fashion is another such adventurous front for young shoppers.

In this digital age, GenZ and Millennials collectively represent a more updated generation in terms of trends and developments in a wide range of fields. Developments in any field anywhere in the world no longer remain hidden from people. Pre-loved fashion has been in existence in the digital world for quite some time now and more and more people are becoming aware of it. Since younger people are more prone to be denizens, they are more exposed to the trends and developments in the world of fashion.

For the past couple of decades, environmental science has been a subject in school syllabuses. This has helped instil the attitude of concern for the planet and environment in children from an early age. Today, these people represent the lion’s share of the working class who are buyers and customers. This combined with the constant proliferation of information via online platforms helps keep people on their toes on environmental issues. Because of their growing share in demographic compositions, what they do carries a larger impact.

Growing Availability of Online Platforms

The availability of the platforms is an essential ingredient in the creation and growth of trading and commerce. Fundamentally speaking, there has to be a marketplace where buyers and sellers can meet and transact. So, even if there is a potential market for pre-loved fashion, buyers and sellers would still need a marketplace or a platform via which they can carry out the process of buying and selling pre-loved clothes online.  Today, there are a large number of online platforms available for pre-loved fashion merchandise. This not just includes brands and businesses but also many social media influencers and celebrities. There is a different kind of appeal and attraction in this novel way of buying fashion merchandise. It is capable of leaving behind surface-level hesitations of buying pre-owned merchandise. Since a large number of smartphone users today are comfortable using social media and shopping online, the presence of brands and businesses dealing in pre-loved fashion merchandise with the right eCommerce capabilities paves a familiar way of shopping either via social posts or online storefronts. This way, all the necessary ingredients required to foster the growth of pre-loved fashion assimilate in one place.

About YRC

We are a retail and eCommerce consulting brand with 10+ years of experience in providing customised business startup and management solutions. With a scaling global footprint, YRC has served more than 500 clients in 25+ verticals. In fashion business consulting, YRC offers planning and implementation services and solutions for business setup and growth and expansion missions.

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