In our dreams, online secondhand shopping is as simple as scrolling through a treasure trove of perfectly preserved items which all cost less than a frappuccino. In reality, the process can be a tad more arduous, requiring a keen eye, good timing and a large dose of luck. In recent years the secondhand clothing industry has taken on a life of its own, with resale apps and websites becoming a focal point of the sustainability movement.
While eBay remains the OG online destination for secondhand steals, platforms such as Depop and Instagram have enticed a new wave of young consumers into the vintage sphere. The Gen Z-focused apps offer the chance to buy both reworked collections and one-off gems, and have quickly become known as go-to spots for preloved pieces. Meanwhile for those searching for serious investment pieces, curated sites like Vestiaire Collective and HEWI sit at the top of the secondhand food chain, boasting a wide range of premium pre-owned clothing.
The secondhand shopping space has been bubbling away for quite some time but the recent pandemic has seen a spike in the desire for more purposeful purchasing. New initiatives like Oxfam’s #SecondHandSeptember are working to highlight the need for environmentally conscious shopping, with the campaign drawing attention to the 13 million items of clothing that end up in UK landfill every week. As the negative impacts of the fast fashion industry are increasingly publicised, many people are beginning to examine their shopping habits as well as the contents of their wardrobes.
If you're thinking of starting your own secondhand shopping journey, it can be helpful to know what to expect, which is exactly why we've collated the best tips in the business to help you navigate the wonderful world of secondhand retail. Ahead, we speak to eight sustainable fashion influencers about their relationship with pre-owned clothing and their favourite online sellers, plus their top tips for successful secondhand shopping online...