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Vestiaire Collective: “Our world cannot afford fast fashion”

By Pia Schulz


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Cost-per-wear comparison of a fast fashion coat with a high-quality second hand coat. Credits: Vestiaire Collective

“The idea that fast fashion is more affordable is simply wrong” - this is the conclusion of new research by Vestiaire Collective.

The French resale platform published its ‘Circularity Report 2024’ last week. The company's third annual impact report shows the results of a joint study with carbon tracking software Vaayu.

A consumer survey with 13,400 participants in five markets — UK, US, France, Italy and Germany — analysed and compared the durability and wearability of second-hand clothing with the purchase of new fast fashion. The result is clear: „Across all categories and price points, high-quality second-hand fashion items offer around 33 percent lower cost-per-wear compared to fast fashion items, which are worn twice as often on average”.

The true cost of clothing

In order to quantify and compare the value of clothing, the resale platform has developed a ‘cost-per-wear’ formula. The price of a product is divided by the number of wears. For second-hand clothing, the resale value is first deducted from the price. The calculated result helps to understand the individual costs per item of clothing and should “contribute to understanding the true cost of fashion”, according to the report.

Longevity of fast fashion products and second hand items in comparison. Credits: Vestiaire Collective

Utilising this method, the online platform aims to “change consumers' perception of the price of an item and encourage them to invest in more economically and environmentally sustainable items.”

“This report is a wake-up call. It shows how important it is to tackle the overconsumption and waste that temptingly low prices for new goods provoke,” said Fanny Moizant, president and co-founder of Vestiaire Collective.

The survey revealed that consumers keep their second-hand products on average 31 percent longer, resulting in a lower cost-per-wear across all product categories. Fast fashion products are worn half as often on average, and the difference is greatest for shoes. For example, high-quality, second-hand coats are worn on average four times as often as new fast fashion coats. In a cost-per-wear comparison, second-hand coats, at 1.62 euros, perform significantly better than comparable cheap new products at 4.53 euros.

Calculation of cost-per-wear. Credits: Vestiaire Collective

“Cheap fast fashion is ultimately the wrong way to go. It misleads people, because in the end they have to replace the items over and over again with new ones. We are in favour of the circular economy because we want to protect both our customers' wallets and our planet. Second-hand luxury items live longer and are more cost-effective over time. Our motto ‘Think First, Buy Second’ is more relevant today than ever,” commented Dounia Wone, chief impact officer at Vestiaire Collective.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.

Fast fashion
Sustainable Fashion
Vestiaire Collective