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Fashion brand participation in resale boomed last year

2022 ended with nearly 3.5 times more brands operating resale programs than in 2021, per an analysis by thredUP. And 2023 continues to bring new resale initiatives from major names in fashion, such as H&M, J.Crew, and Kate Spade.

  • Brands want to capture a share of resale demand. Secondhand fashion sales are already taking place on third-party platforms such as Poshmark, thredUP, and The RealReal, so it makes sense for brands to stake a claim. Through this, they can also strengthen customer relationships and gain valuable behavioral data.
  • But it’s getting harder to stand out in an increasingly crowded space. As resale becomes table stakes for fashion brands, greater creativity is required to differentiate resale offerings. Brands and resale platforms are experimenting with a variety of tactics: Rebag and REI are tying resale to loyalty programs; Levi’s and Miu Miu are showcasing how used apparel can be restyled; and Depop and thredUP are collaborating with Gen Z celebrities and influencers (Olivia Rodrigo and Nava Rose, respectively).
  • Even fast-fashion brands are getting in on resale, with mixed reception. Zara began testing a program for resale, repairs, and donations in the UK in late 2022, and H&M launched a new resale program in the US in March 2023. Shein’s P2P resale platform debuted in October 2022 and creates listings based on customer purchase history. But some of these efforts have also heightened criticism of the brands and their association with overproduction.