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Vestiaire Collective launched in 2009 to enable individuals to buy and sell second-hand fashion items. Vestiaire’s platform was established so that a global community of fashion-loving, environmentally conscious users could put the items they no longer wear or use back into circulation.
Sellers list items on the marketplace and, after validation by the Vestiaire’s curation team, items become available for sale. Originally called 'Vestiaire de Copines' and only available in France, Vestiaire Collective has expanded rapidly to meet demand and now has 11 million members across 80 countries.
In early 2021, there were more than 3 million items on the platform, with 550,000 new listings per month.
For us, the future looks like one giant wardrobe where everyone is able to circulate existing items locally to fight overproduction and overconsumption.
Why it’s an example of the circular economy
Vestiaire has harnessed the enabling power of digital technology to connect unused clothes items to new customers, thereby increasing the number of uses, giving a second, third, or even fourth life to products that already exist. They also hope to nurture a circular mindset, by encouraging their users to buy better quality and take good care of their items to maximise their resale value.
By connecting people, Vestiaire creates a sense of community between those with shared values who actively choose to enter a circular system and those looking for unique items or new ways to access the latest trends. 60% of sellers report that they would not have given a second life to products without the existence of the resale market
Vestiare’s resale platform creates potential benefits to citizens, business and the environment:
- ‘Upscale effect’ - 85% of Vestiaire’s customers report that they are shifting from fast fashion to trading up to a mindset of fewer, but better quality, second hand items.
- Fewer resources, less waste - on average one pre-owned purchase saves: 1kg waste, 3,040 litres water, 22kg CO2 (Farfetch 2020)
- Affordability - lower price points make luxury brand items accessible to a larger customer base.
- New customers acquisition - 48% of second hand shoppers admit purchasing a brand that was new to them and nearly all would consider buying these brands again.
- Surfing a consumer trend - by 2027, resale apparels expected to make up 11% of an average citizen’s wardrobe.
How it works
The founders of Vestiaire Collective were motivated by the fact that, on average, people only use half of their clothes. This means that there are hundreds of millions of unused items whose potential is not being realised. Materials and resources that were used to manufacture them are being wasted and consumers buying a new version of the same item, further contributing to resource depletion.
Acting on these insights, Vestiaire Collective developed and operates a 100% digital e-commerce platform, which aims to keep clothes in use longer. Here’s how the process works.
- Sellers list items online themselves, taking pictures, and uploading key information such as price, description and condition.
- Vestiaire’s curation team standardises the photos, validates the items, and makes them available on the platform.
- Buyers can choose from two options when ordering items:
(i) Direct shipping - the seller sends the item directly to the buyer. This is available for most items under 1000 (USD, EUR, GBP) and on selected items above 1000 (USD, EUR, GBP) which are being sold by experienced sellers (i.e. “trusted sellers”).
(ii) Shipping with authentication - the seller sends the item to one of Vestiaires’ three regional hubs for authentication and quality checks, before the item forwarded to the buyer
4. Vestiaire charges sellers a 20% average commission, which covers all fees, including shipping. This commission is variable depending on the price of the item.
5. Users can also subscribe to a premium service which offers additional benefits such as “priority seller” status or early access to new items.
- Vestiaire website
Case study published June 2021