What’s Old Is New. Luxury Brands Buying Into Consignment For Much Needed Revenue Stream.

A general view of atmosphere at a celebration of The Hollywood Reporter's Power 100 Women in Entertainment breakfast at Milk Studios on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images)

The old “Is that new?” question and “It’s new to me” response never has been more applicable.

For the clothing scene, consignment can feel just as fresh and fashionable to the consumer as off the racks. And in a pandemic era when the consumer has turned greatly to e-commerce, high-end fashion brands are also doing so in the name of good business and sustainability.

Gucci would never ordinarily be associated with thriftiness, but the bougie brand has followed Burberry and Stella McCartney to partner with luxury platform TheRealReal on an e-shop of consigned products. The items are curated from sellers and used campaign samples. Gucci is hoping the move shifts its business decline; the brand posted a 12% drop in third-quarter sales.

“By making luxury more accessible, we’re serving as a gateway and building earlier affinity for luxury brands, like Gucci, that ultimately expands their audience,” Allison Sommer, TheRealReal senior director of strategic initiatives, told Fox Business.

There is also a sustainability appeal, especially to the younger consignment market. TheRealReal pitched that it already has saved 230 metric tons of carbon and 10 million liters of water over what would have been used in manufacturing clothes. Rental attire platforms are growing in popularity as well.

“A perk of resale is that you have the benefit of shopping sustainably and keeping pieces in circulation, which is incredibly important at a time when one garbage truck’s worth of textiles is landfilled or burned every second,” Sommer told Coveteur.

Anna Sui also is selling archival runway pieces on Depop. Neiman Marcus invested in Fashionphile last year.

It’s not much different than the car scene. Sometimes, you want to look good in a luxury car, but a pre-owned one is the only way you’re going to get in one. Same goes for a pair of Gucci shoes.

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