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4 Myths of Fashion Resale

By Samantha Dersarkissian

4 Myths of Fashion Resale


Over the last few years, online fashion resale has become the largest growing sector of the retail fashion industry attracting the interest of shoppers and big brands like REI, Lulu Lemon, Levi’s, and Eileen Fisher

What’s led to this shift in customer and brand behavior? 

Massive job loss, pay cuts, and loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic caused many shoppers to look for ways to save money without leaving the house. 

Climate and sustainability activists like Greta Thunberg brought climate change and sustainability issues to mainstream media. Her efforts inspired a global movement of young people to pressure politicians and corporations to take climate change and sustainability issues seriously. 

As shoppers become educated about the impact fast fashion has had on our planet, many have quit their addiction to fast fashion brands and turned to fashion resale as a means to shop sustainably and save money. 

Unfortunately, there are still some customers and brand decision-makers who are hesitant to give fashion resale a chance due to old-standing myths carried over from thrifting experiences. 

As one of the brands pioneering the branded fashion resale space, we can assure you that the fashion resale experience of today is nothing like the thrifting and consignment experience of the past.

Is your brand looking to get into the resale game but you’re concerned resale might not be an on-brand experience?

 Let’s explore 4 common misconceptions about fashion resale and put to bed the myth that fashion resale can’t be a high-end, on-brand experience. 

1. Pre-Worn Items Are In Poor Condition

One of the main issues our industry faces is the pervasive myth that pre-worn items are in poor condition. On the contrary, brands that accept and sell pre-worn clothing items are extremely particular about the cleanliness and condition of the clothes. Resale brands will not accept any items that are stained, damaged, worn, or unclean. Many companies, like Trove, have their own system for cleaning and curating clothing before it even hits the market.

Believe it or not, many of the items collected are so lightly used that it led to their resale in the first place. A significant amount of donated or returned items are still unworn or worn once. 

It’s entirely possible that brands can source pre-worn apparel in like-new condition from their previous customers. Accepting gently used items from customers and offering incentives to buy resale or new items from your brand strengthens brand loyalty and keeps customers spending money within your brand’s ecosystem. 

2. Used Items Are Out of Style

Before the 1990s and our shift into fast fashion, people purchased less clothing and wore each garment for longer. There were two seasons in fashion, Spring/ Summer and Autumn/Winter. Designs sat on shelves much longer and as a result, thrift stores rarely held current on-trend clothing.

Fast-forward to today, fashion seasons only last a few weeks at best. Trends are no longer started on the runway a few times a year and trickled down to bargain stores like Miranda Priestly so eloquently stated in The Devil Wears Prada.

Instead, new trends are broadcast to the masses through social media influencers. Fast fashion brands like Shien and Fashion Nova partner with influencers to create buzz around their latest collections. Trends today come and go like lighting, shoppers can hardly keep up.

Customers have responded in two ways:

  • Create a wardrobe of timeless fashion pieces.
  • Create a wardrobe based on whatever fashion trend they most identify with.

Essentially, nothing can be out of style when everything can be in style. Author Amanda Montell talks about this phenomenon in the latest episode of her podcast “The Cult of Fast Fashion”, which aired May 17th, 2022. She describes speaking to a group of Gen Z high schoolers and noticed their styles ranged from bellbottoms of the 70s to early 2000s low-rise flares. 

3. You Have to Be Rich to Afford Luxury Items

Another myth about luxury fashion resale is that prices are still unaffordable. The reality is, branded luxury resale items are often sold at a much lower price point. Luxury resale marketplaces and branded resale sites stock garments at 50-90% off designer brands, making it affordable for the average shopper. Because they retain their value you get more money out of it later–cost per wear (depreciation) 

4. Customers Can’t Affect Change in the Fashion Industry

There’s a pervasive myth that individuals cannot affect change in the fashion industry. In fact, customers are the strongest force for change in the fashion industry. Customers are using social media platforms to spread awareness and organize boycotts of top brands harming our planet.  Shoppers wield the power of collective action to pressure top brands to find new ways to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their environmental impact.

Their efforts have paid off. Fashion resale is now growing 21 times faster than retail markets in the fashion industry. Top brands like Lululemon, Levi’s, and REI now offer an option for shoppers to buy or trade in pre-worn items right from their website.

How Trove is Changing Branded Fashion Resale

It’s more crucial than ever for brands to integrate circular supply chain models into their sustainability efforts. Here at Trove, our mission is to accelerate the shift to a new era of conscious commerce that’s essential to a sustainable future.

Trove powers resale as a channel for the world’s most beloved brands, extending the life of millions of products, and creating more inclusive, less wasteful business models.  We do this by creating an end-to-end software and service solution designed to make the collection, cleaning, merchandising, and selling of pre-worn clothing items easy.

Schedule a free demo with us today!