Classic pieces, incredibly expensive bags and shoes, like a stargate resembling the data vortex from the movie The Matrix, reach the present light-years away from the dusty shop where it all started, with a single click.

On the first anniversary of the Covid-19 era, we are witnessing a twenty percent growth of the second-hand market with the shocks that changed the course and fate of fashion. According to Boston Consulting, the second-hand product market on the web has reached $40 billion as of today. In the next five years, the most important sites are expected to reach a profit rate that increases 100 percent every year. In ten years, it is estimated that the turnover of second-hand products may exceed fast fashion items. Sites such as Vestiaire Collective, Depop, Rebag, The RealReal, Re-See and Byronesque (Goat and StockX in sneakers) have become the virtual destination of those who want to reach the world of luxury without having the necessary budget. Therefore, the radars were turned to the most suitable online opportunities. Second-hand cyber travelers follow online shopping as sophisticated collectors.

So how do those who coordinate these second-hand online fashion platforms work? It is important to find out exactly how many products are on a platform where classics are sold and how much they go for. As a matter of fact, keeping the operating costs at an acceptable level, counting the products, cataloging and determining their prices, that is, taking inventory; one of the factors that determine the future of the people who manage such platforms. This is an economic burden that reduces the total income or turnover in commissions over the main source. Coordinating such a company is not easy given that clothing and accessories can go directly from customer to customer (peer to peer), shipped to a collection center for authentication and then shipped to buyers, or, as always, come directly from brands. At this stage, the development of artificial intelligence and artificial learning come into play. Computers and microchips will recognize models, analyze the situation, set the price and confirm the realities. But there is no guarantee that all this will work without the expertise of the human factor.

There is a definite reason why some products of the same brand bleed while others retain the same value. In Byronesque, where the most demanding buyers are located, the phrase “price on demand” is frequently encountered. We see this in the plus size jeans created by Maison Margiela for the Fall/Winter 2000 season, or in Vivienne Westwood’s Seditionaries “Tits” collection, which dates back to 1977. Meanwhile, Tagwalk experts claim that some pieces from Prada, Rick Owens, Thom Browne and Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection will already become cult classics of the future. Collectors are already trying to buy these products, which are in high demand, with the precision of a surgeon. In the best of circumstances, when they decide to do so, they will be able to earn two or even three times the starting price. Moreover, there is no need to be an expert on this subject. Following the basic rules of keeping the box and label, keeping the bag in good condition So Hermès’ Birkin, Chanel’s 2.55 bag, Fendi’s Peekaboo will keep their prices over time. A footnote to complicate the situation: Some sneaker brands, seeing their old models rise in price or even higher than new ones, re-manufacture them to avoid speculation and artificially lower the price of secondhand. In short, they treat the products as stocks on the stock market.

After Burberry and Stella McCartney, Gucci began selling their products on The RealReal. Meanwhile, according to Alessandro Michele, this new course of the brand is an operation that follows the logic of circularity as it reduces unsold products. Underneath this, of course, is the desire to appeal to generations Y and Z. In this way, increasing the sales of seasonal collections and turning the young population into loyal customers is of course one of the goals. On the other hand, there are those who try to ease the burden of buying new ones by selling used products, but what is clear now is that buying valuable products has become an investment. The proof of this is the second-hand online shopping platforms that are increasing their investments. We continue to monitor developments with interest.

Article: Federica Fiori

Photos: Mehmet Erzincan, Getty Images Turkey

Taken from ELLE Turkey April 2021 issue.