The pejorative “hand-me-down” connotation that once surrounded pre-owned fashion, no longer exists. At a time when the real threat of a next ecological disaster is just around the corner, and primary fashion retail is faltering, consumers have become more open-minded to vintage clothing. Together with the next generation of digital-native consumers being more responsible with their shopping behavior, a new, more mainstream, era of online sustainable fashion has been birthed.
Since most clothing already in circulation is non-renewable, squeezing out extra use keeps clothes from going to landfill and helps deter customers from buying new. This reduction in buying new helps slow down environmental degradation while one might find luscious jewels from past collections, no longer available in-store, alluring.
Not only does circularity benefit the floating blue orb we live on, but a report by GlobalData tells us that the second hand market “has grown 21 times faster in the US than other fashion retail over the past three years.” According to The Ellen MacArther Institute it means that “by moving to a circular system the industry can unlock a $560 billion economic opportunity.”
In an attempt to help navigate this jungle Highsnobiety has examined eight of the top resale platforms based on four categories: range of designers, aesthetics, shipping, and ease of use. There are other men’s resale platforms not on this list because they focus on the trading of deadstock, rather than second-hand, i.e. Stock X and Stadium Goods. Other platforms either don’t have the global scale or product depth to warrant inclusion.
Tip: if you are trying to find a very specific item, use Gem. It searches and displays all resale platforms that are currently selling the piece across the internet.
One-stop-shop for vintage designer finds. Three reasons: Incredible range of vintage designers, reliable authentication, and quick shipping options.
Range of Designers Vestiaire Collective’s massive and ever-expanding range of super brands, emerging designers, and niche streetwear labels streetwear, make browsing exciting. The Paris-based re-commerce platform covers everything menswear: shoes, clothing, accessories and watches. Snatch up more affordable designer gems, like a pair of Dolce & Gabbana moccasins, or high value resales, like a cashmere Louis Vuitton x Supreme scarf. Vestiaire Collective (translated: Cloakroom Collective) authenticates each item, building a high reputation among its buyers and sellers over the past 11 years.
Aesthetic The app design is nice, with the brand’s signature orange colour threaded tastefully throughout. The mini-editorial shoots for the homepage tap into a vintage inspiration, but focus heavily on womenswear.
Unfortunately, product images can often look flat, creased and uninspiring given the peer-to-peer nature of the platform. Some items rely too heavily on the name of the designer and not necessarily the product itself. That being said, one man’s dull grey designer jumper is another man’s prized cop.
Shipping Times Express delivery is available on items the company keeps in its warehouses and will arrive in as little as 48 hours. Direct delivery is available from trusted sellers, where you waive the authenticity process and they sell it directly to you. This makes for more eco-friendly shipping practises and the items arrive much faster.
Usually, the necessity of verification means that if you purchase from a seller in your own country, the minimum is 7 days, with an average of 10 days. When buying outside your country, the minimum is 10 days, with the average of 15 days.
Ease of Use Pros: The website is generally easy to navigate and while the ubiquitous ‘favourites’ feature remains useful for saving your preferences after a good amount of time invested in trawling. It has a specific link to menswear on the homepage now. Presenting prices in the local currency of its user remains a plus.
Cons: The search function presented items outside of the set parameters. You can’t differentiate gender. The international sizing can look confusing at first, but in their defence the items come with an international size chart and the search finds equivalent sizing anyway.
The largest men’s designer and streetwear marketplace. Three reasons: depth of vintage stock, sleek website/app and editorial features.
Range of Designers The great depth of the inventory means that you will not be able to scroll through everything.
Grailed offers some truly amazing and rare pieces, like a Junya Watanabe x Carhartt x Comme Des Garcons jacket. It also has a great range of random, lower-end items too. The range is unlike other platforms and specifically set up for the menswear market. It also has the lowest seller fee, as well as buyer protection and authenticity reports.
Aesthetic Grailed has a very smooth, ergonomic and monochromatic design, almost a pared back blog style. User photos are natural and generally good. Its ‘style’ section can come across as stereotypically influencer-like.
Shipping Times There are currently 104,581 US listings for sneakers, 18,640 from Europe and 3,973 from the UK alone, so it’s easy to see that the international skew is definitely towards the US market. However, shipping worldwide is possible, by paying between $10-$30, making it worth splashing out on the more expensive items on the site and app.
Ease of Use Pros: Comprehensive categorization makes filtering a simple task. From size, to type of clothing, to category of style, to price, to condition and location. Its editorial section, Dry Clean Only, has features such as the #grailfits, interviews with fashion insiders and lists Grailed’s most expensive items sold that week.
Cons: All products are listed in US dollars. Authenticity can be a problem since it is a peer-to-peer website; there is no verification. There are reports of scammers, but Grailed offers PayPal Buyer Protection (does not apply if you purchase as a guest) and is working to clamp down on this.
The Instagram of resale. Three reasons: Strong community, enables creative expression and good vintage gear.
Range of Designers Depop provides a similar choice of designers found on the rails of most vintage shops, offered at accessible price-points. There are some higher end designer products on the app and as the Depop crowd opens up to slightly older users, this may very well expand. Still it’s the lower-end steals that make Depop appealing.
Aesthetic Aesthetic freedom is what makes Depop so great. Depop account @brightonbadboy, for instance, puts up photos pretending a pair of Nike Air Max 98s is a telephone or holding up DJ decks while posing in a vintage Ralph Lauren tracksuit.
Shipping Times Entirely dependent on the seller. However, you will generally only be shown local items in your own country that are sold in the same currency. A built-in review system motivates sellers to keep their 5 star rating (much like eBay’s business model) and send out items quickly.
Ease of Use Pros: Depop mostly runs as a traditional social app. Its messaging feature comes into its own and creates a more communal, bartering experience. It has the feel of a real marketplace where prices are negotiable through bulk buying or haggling and you feel the thrill of a bargain with the added bravado of being behind a phone screen. The app is super easy to navigate and if you are looking to sell it’s simple to set up. It’s the only place you are just as likely to be or become a seller as browsing as a buyer.
Cons: There is no verification system. The curation page is hectic and you can be pushed by some poor quality pieces.
The OG of resale. Three reasons: Massive inventory, auction style and good range of sizes
Range of Designers Designer items are often described as ‘genuine’ which doesn’t indicate a well regulated marketplace or put buyers at ease. It has a huge trove of items, currently offering over 1.3 million listings for men’s fashion alone. This makes it possible to find just about anything you would like, given enough determination and time. eBay has a good selection of low-middle priced brands like Dr Martens, Carhartt, Lacoste, but can also be excellent for finding rare up-market brands such as, Yohji Yamamoto, Céline, and Comme des Garcons.
Aesthetic eBay’s aesthetic is not cool; it’s function is being a marketplace.
Shipping Times The platform gives you an estimated delivery date on its main search. No other site featured here has this option. Your address is already saved to find the fastest and cheapest seller.
Ease of Use Pros: The app gives an easy to navigate through, while the website is slightly more heavy-handed. As opposed to many other reselling markets, eBay caters to different fit sizes because of its huge range of products, meaning you have a good chance of finding something you like.
Cons: The website has been infiltrated by paying advertisers with deals, clearance sales and outlet stores, cheapening the resale experience with knock-off products. When searching for a product, there are up to five sponsored listings meaning you have to sift a bit through commercials to get to the good stuff. Categories are also often reductive.
A chaos of vintage resellers. Three reasons: Classic vintage goods, unique search features, and charity support.
Range of Designers Expect classic vintage clobber: Tommy Hilfiger, Umbro, North Face, Reebok etc. There aren't many high-end designer goods. Independent designers are mixed into the marketplace, at times resulting in shoppers having to discern the vintage from new product.
Aesthetic ASOS Marketplace is constructed of boutique sellers, each championing their own clothes and style of presenting. Entertaining names include: Volga Volga, Pop Sick, Bich and Joe Banana.
Enabling the boutiques to control their own e-commerce channel creates a inconsistent aesthetic. Everyone is vying for a strong aesthetic, to try to make it about them and their ‘boutique’, but really, buyers only care about the clothes. Unlike Depop, there’s no engagement and little community making the platform feel like a constrained tentacle of ASOS’ main website.
Shipping Times ASOS Marketplace probably has one of the most comprehensive shipping guides. It is laid out like a grid, showing how much it costs for each continent for shipping, the cost of adding an extra item from a buyer and the rough number of days for delivery.
Ease of Use Pros: There are some fantastic and unique search features: decades, materials and country of origin. There is a charity boutique section, teaming up with the likes of Bernardo, Save The Children and Oxfam to provide some good-deed gear. What is surprising is the quality of these clothes. There is a real opportunity to discover some great pieces.
Cons: There is not an app for ‘ASOS Marketplace’. There is no list of all available clothing, making it difficult to browse openly. There is a fundamental problem with it being linked to such a polluting, influential fast-fashion retailer as ASOS. Perhaps it shows a willingness to off-set, but is it really enough? There is still new product being promoted in the marketplace.
The streetwear specialist with a minimalist design. Three reasons: Access to US market, hyped streetwear and sleek app.
Range of Designers Bump sells brands like Supreme, Palace, Bape, Off-White, Gosha Rubinsky, Gucci, Champion and Louis Vuitton. Newly added pieces are mainly hot-off-the-hype-press-streetwear being flipped for a profit. Scrolling down on the website, you will be presented with a list of at least ten identical Air Jordans all with the same stock photo. Many of the pieces are photographed still in their original packaging, which is great if you want to continue the demand for new clothes, but not if you’re looking for used or vintage steals. Vintage options are secondary to the streetwear flipping scene.
Aesthetic Bump has a Depop feel in that it is predominantly app-based with the website that mimicking the app in function and design. It has a very similar individual item layout to Grailed and it has a nice sparse, capitalized font and a cool simple layout. It is one of the more aesthetically pleasing and minimalist designs of the online resale platforms reviewed.
Shipping Times Similar to eBay, the price depends on the seller and where the seller is shipping from.
Ease of Use Pros: The search filter on the app is pragmatic, sleek and stylish. It has the choice of top brands (complete with icons), colors, categories of clothing, sizes (in men’s or women’s), condition, price and location.
Cons: When you first load the app it shows up with about 14 messages from the founder and sellers promoting their latest drops.
Perfect for high end designer clothing. Three reasons: Legitimacy of super brand pieces, quick shipping and sleek website.
Range of Designers Cudoni Marketplace’s focus is on expensive designer clothing. Its ethos is to make it as easy as possible for vintage designer sellers. They offer a free home collection service (available only to sellers based UK) take professional photos and take care of the selling experience. Cudoni claim to get on average a 30 percent increase of what you’d get for it if you’d sold it yourself. Think Gucci, Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Berluti.
Aesthetic The commerce images are all standardized, making cross comparisons between items easy. The whole experience feels cohesive and comprehensible. The item page is spare and sleek. There is a material breakdown and detailed item description.
Shipping Times Because of the company’s business model of collecting clients’ clothes it means they can ship very quickly. Next day delivery if placed before noon. Or standard delivery of 2-3 days. All items are insured and tracked. They deliver worldwide.
Ease of Use Pros: The simplistic design makes the platform a dream to navigate. If buying used scares you, you want trusted verification, quality designer garments and quick delivery. Cudoni is that.
Cons: The only real downsides is Cudoni’s lack of affordable items, making thrifting pretty impossible. It is currently app-less.
The best streetwear specific resellers app. Three reasons: A focus on sneakers, AR app feature and ergonomic design.
Range of Designers If it’s sneakers you’re after, look no further. GOAT’s range is incredible and constantly updated. The app has a fantastic and highly curated range of streetwear clothing too.
Aesthetic It has perhaps the most pared back design out of all platform’s reviewed. Its beautiful simplicity and sense of curation is a relaxed entrance to the online Elysium of hype.
The image quality is sublime. The e-commerce aesthetic for the clothes on their app is also brilliant. The themes are nicely collected, E.g. ‘Heavy Metal’ for a round up of metallic inspired items.
Shipping Times Since GOAT is a US based company, shipping times are best for those living in the US. International shipping is still readily available for many countries, but it does take longer than buying from the primary market.
Ease of Use Pros: Items come with detailed descriptions. Their editorial suggestions are useful too: ‘Just Dropped’, ‘Best Collaborations’, interviews, ‘Top 20 Trending’, ‘Under Retail’. It has a feature for upcoming sneaker releases in calendar form. Easy direction for buying used or new, much like Amazon.
AnAR feature allows you to figuratively try the shoes on before purchase. GOAT’s seller selection process is rigorous and they stipulate specific requirements of the photos sellers upload.
Cons: Unfortunately for anyone buying outside the US it can be frustrating that all prices are in dollars.
Well-rounded men’s resale Three Reasons: Good price range, rare collaborations, and easy functionality on platform.
Range of Designers A formidable streetwear range with specific sections. Rare collaborations, all of the top brands. A blend of more traditional luxury, such as Loro Piana, Giorgio Armani, Brunello Cucinelli, plus the new age super brands: Off-White, Stone Island, Rick Owens and Comme des Garçons. The platform also has many emerging, trending brands such as 032c, 107 ALYX 9SM, and Aimé Leon Dore. It is an Alladin’s cave of all things fashion.
Aesthetic The RealReal has a clean, bright and minimal aesthetic. The collaged headers add an inventive, artistic touch. The edits are simple and functional. The mannequins in the commerce shots look like an anachronistic 90s retail throwback; they don't look stylish.
Shipping Times Ships internationally to over 60 countries for between $37-$50. Fast shipping for the US is available at $20-$30.
Ease of Use Pros: The item descriptions are detailed. They give a clear condition, when the fabric isn’t stated on the garment, it's speculated upon thanks to the expertise of the authenticators. Exact measurements are given. If you’re based in the US and want to sell, it's simple: send items for free, or have them collected in certain metro areas. The RealReal authenticate, photograph, price and sell the items. Aims to go carbon neutral by 2021.
Cons: Have to come back to the use of white mannequins for product display. Editorial ‘Real Style’ section leans heavily into womenswear.