Vintage hunters and second-hand fashion lovers rejoice - the trend for pre-owned fashion is on the rise. Although it seems unlikely that consumers will ever turn their backs on 'fast-fashion' from high streets giants like Primark, H&M and Zara for good, a new study has uncovered the changing attitudes of female shoppers towards clothing and pre-owned fashion following the economic turndown.
Vestiaire Collective, a global online marketplace for the resale of luxury goods, has published a study which shows British consumers moving away from the hay-days of 'fast-throw-away' fashion in favour of a more sustainable way of purchasing and managing their wardrobes. Increasingly, they seem to be prioritising quality over quantity. In a survey, conducted by IPSOS, British female shoppers in particular were singled out as leading the curve for purchasing pre-owned fashion online, with over 60 percent of the population swapping to purchasing and selling previously owned clothes online.
British consumers leading the way for pre-owned fashion
The survey found that 55 percent of the women polled in Europe and the US have or would like to buy pre-owned fashion online, with 54 percent of the women questioned claiming they have or would like to sell their unwanted fashion items online. British women were one step ahead of their European and US counterparts, with 62 percent saying that they had or would like to buy second-hand fashion online and 65 percent stating that they had or would like to sell their unwanted fashion purchases online.
Questioning over 2400 women aged 20-44 years old across the UK, Europe and the US, the survey notes that selling and purchasing previously owned fashion is seen as a clever way for women to shop and manage their wardrobes. Over a third of the respondents revealed that they were more interested in second-hand fashion now compared to five years ago, with close to 30 percent of British women admitting they buy more pre-owned fashion pieces online now. Women who shopped pre-owned were found to own on average twelve second hand items, with clothing proving to be the most popular pre-owned purchase, followed by handbags, shoes and accessories respectively.
The need for quality versus quantity, sustainability and value for money driving force behind pre-owned fashion
But what are the main factors that have contributed to the increased interest in previously owned fashion over the past five years? The study claims that the shift in the global economic situation has lead to an overall demand for good 'deals' with consumers expecting more bang for their buck than ever before. Over 55 percent of respondents stated value for money as a reason for shopping pre-owned fashion, whilst 76 percent admitted to purchasing the majority of their clothes on sale or with a discount.
Another reason behind the boost in pre-owned fashion stems from 'investment pieces.' 45 percent of British women questioned believed buying with the intent to resell the idea was a good idea and a smarter way to shop. 67 percent said they sold unwanted fashion items to make a bit of extra money, whilst 24 percent said it was because they wanted to refresh their wardrobe on a regular basis.
Sustainability and ethics, as well as the search for quality apparel has also helped boost awareness for pre-owned fashion. A third of the respondents revealed a preference in investing in quality items which will withstand the test of time over cheaply made fashion. Second-hand fashion also offers many consumers the opportunity to buy into luxury labels, with 53 percent saying pre-owned fashion gave the, access to luxury items which they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
Increased appetite for an individual look has also led to the increase in pre-owned, as female shoppers are keen to acquire a unique piece for more individual ways to express themselves through fashion. 48 percent of British women polled said they shopped pre-owned fashion in order to find rare, one of a kind or difficult pieces. The rise of collaborative consumption has also led to increased confidence in purchasing, selling and sharing pre-owned fashion, as fashion blogs around the world bring together shoppers, ultimately influencing them in how and what they consume.
Images: Vestiaire Collective