Second-hand shopping is slowly down fast fashion. Thrifting is not a new concept, but it has grown to the tune of $28 billion as an industry today. The acquisition of Depop at $1.6 billion caters to the growth and values of Gen Z. In a report, 90% of Gen Z shoppers said they’ve made their daily lives more sustainable, with fashion practices playing a key role.
For many industries, overstock will remain a chronic challenge if companies don’t pivot to reflect the consumer’s changing sentiment. Investors have noticed and are seeking for accountability in the case of Boohoo. As José Neves Founder & CEO of Farfetch said, “…the industry has an oversupply problem, which is an environmental problem as well.” In the State of Fashion 2020 report, brands will need to focus on three priorities: create a demand-led model, reduce assortment complexity, and address the price-volume equation.
Shein the Chinese fast fashion ecommerce brand is surging ahead on that path. They use tech to predict and produce what shoppers want in order to avoid overstock. They do it by connecting their digital marketing to its supply chain (including factories and suppliers) to adjust production volume according to what sells or number of Likes. Like the stock market, it’s beyond fast fashion, it’s reactive fashion. Or as Matthew Brennan, author of Attention Factory, calls “real-time retail”. For context, there were 15,550 ‘Daily New’ products on the US site for consumers to discover something new everyday.
There is a however an underlying tension between thrifting and fast fashion both spurred by Gen Z and enabled by social media. The climate crisis is a motivation for thrifting. In an interview with Refinery29, a 24-yr old young woman said, “Thrifting taught me that I can positively impact this world in more ways than one. It’s granted me an entryway into a new way of living that feels more productive and purposeful. I find myself paying more attention to companies’ stances on current political issues and buying quality over quantity.”
However online pressure is both the conflict and disconnect between what consumers say they want and what they buy. There is a relentless drive for fresh content & looks. To wrestle this social dilemma and limited disposable income, Gen Z is experimenting styles through cheaper secondhand garments.
As the saying goes, it takes a village and we recognise that collective push through our Sustainability Demand Matrix™. The investors are in synch with consumers in a push for accountability, and corporates are stepping up to transform the industry with renewed growth strategies.
In the midst of change, what should be celebrated is the creativity and ingenuity of every new generation to reinvent entrenched business models to do better, and for us to step out in sharper style.