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Secondhand Clothing Back in Fashion as Sales Rise

The resurgence of secondhand clothing in the fashion industry, as highlighted by the significant growth of the global resale market, marks a notable shift in consumer behavior towards more sustainable and budget-friendly choices. According to a report from ThredUp, a leading US clothing resale company, the secondhand market expanded by 18% in 2023, outpacing the general clothing retail market by a substantial margin. This trend is indicative of changing attitudes towards pre-owned clothing, with many consumers now embracing secondhand shopping as a fashionable and environmentally conscious option.


Fashion writer Ellie Violet Bramley, in an article for The Guardian, notes the disappearance of the stigma associated with wearing secondhand clothes, signaling a cultural shift towards acceptance and even preference for pre-loved items. This shift aligns with growing concerns over the environmental impact of fast fashion and a heightened awareness of sustainability among shoppers. Additionally, the affordability of secondhand clothing makes it an attractive choice for those looking to save money without compromising on style.


The ThredUp report predicts that by 2025, sales of secondhand clothing will comprise 10% of all global clothing sales, further underscoring the growing influence of the resale market. In the US, the secondhand market experienced particularly robust growth, outpacing overall fashion retail by a factor of seven in 2023. A survey conducted as part of the report found that two out of five US clothing purchases in 2023 were secondhand, with a majority of shoppers, especially those in the younger demographic, actively engaging in secondhand shopping.


While online platforms like Vinted and Depop are popular among younger buyers, traditional secondhand stores and charity shops remain preferred destinations for older shoppers. Moreover, the survey revealed that a significant portion of respondents had also participated in selling secondhand clothing as a means of generating income.


However, challenges persist within the resale industry, with some companies experiencing financial losses due to the sheer volume of secondhand clothing to manage. Processing and managing inventory entail significant time and costs, posing operational hurdles for resale businesses. Despite these challenges, the continued growth of the secondhand clothing market underscores its enduring appeal and significance in shaping the future of fashion consumption.








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