Michael Zahariev, co-founder of Luxity, shares his views on how the incline in sales of pre-owned luxury fashion (items) contributes positively to the environment while nurturing an alternative circular economy and what else can be done to sway customer preferences in this direction.
The trend of making the purchasing of pre-owned luxury fashion items a common practice in the clothing retail space has gained momentum over the past five years. Although pre-owned fashion outlets have existed for over decades, the shift in spending patterns of fashion lovers has been impacted by the pandemic and fast tracked a transition that has long been in progress.
The price points of various luxury (and/or vintage) items that have entered the resale market is luring and converting admirers into potential and active buyers. While fast fashion is affordable and undoubtedly a huge revenue generating model in fashion commerce, its direct impact on environmental dynamics remains an enormous concern.
Xhead: Propelled by technology
According to an article published on 440industries.com, the saturation of mobile technologies and the world’s consistent embracing of globalisation and the behaviours entrenched in this development have simplified access to sellers of pre-owned fashion items.
Technology has impacted and brought long standing innovations to many industries – and fashion is no different. The upwards trend of reliance on e-commerce platforms owned by retailers has mushroomed all over the world, with Africa making its own dent in this market.
In South Africa specifically, brick and mortar stores are still the most preferred platforms of shopping. This will remain true for a few more years to come purely due to the resilient mall culture, however, stores like Luxity have witnessed an increase in digital shoppers.
More customers are becoming familiar with the process of online shopping. The more seamless their experience, the more likely they are to permanently convert their mode of shopping. The spread of the Covid 19 pandemic indirectly introduced the customer base to the world of online shopping across multiple industries. The simplified access to pre-owned luxury items ushers in the price question, which is often answered by a click on the item of interest.
Xhead: Shifting customer preferences
In order to get the customers to change their preferences (between the different types of fashion on retail), it is important to align their choices to a bigger cause. The gravitation towards the sustainability of the environment and climate change has highlighted the under appreciated advantage of buying pre-owned.
“When we began people were very weary of pre-owned and mostly thought of it as a lesser purchase. Through proving customers with a great experience both instore and online, we are able to show people that buying pre-owned is a better option,” says Michael Zahariev, co-founder of pre-owned luxury items retailer, Luxity.
“People are able to buy products at a reduced cost which will last them many times longer than buying fast fashion items at a similar cost. Additionally, people are able to trade in their items which has a return. Sometimes these items can even appreciate over time and return as much or more than the original purchase.”
Zahariev says that customers are driven by the desire to own a well known fashion brand at a better value, but over time, through Luxity’s focus on higher end fashion brands, the store has been able to lure more people into the concept of buying pre-owned.
Xhead: The drive to assist climate preservation efforts
Tons of waste textile is sitting in landfills as result of unsustainable fast fashion. Due to the quality of material used by high end fashion producers, re-purposing these items pro-longs the lifespan of each product. This is one of the reasons why pre-owned luxury fashion continues to gain traction.
The eco-friendly industry is expected to explode well beyond the 40 billion dollar mark by the year 2024.
“This business model allows the initial purchasers of the fashion items to resell the products to the store. As they participate in this circular economy, over time, they will be convinced to convert other parts of their lives and embrace pre-owned in other avenues, such as pre-owned vintage furniture,” says Zahariev
According to Zahariev, the impact on the environment is not just based on the purchase of one pre-owned designer bag. It is about an entire mental shift embracing pre-owned products all round. The circular economy of pre-owned products has the potential to lead to behaviourial change that is eco-friendly and upholds sustainability.
Luxity has recently relocated its flagship storea 500m2 Mega Store from Melrose Arch to Sandton City and opened another store at Menlyn Main in Pretoria. The third store is in Cape Town, at the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village.
“Pre-owned luxury fashion items remain attractive due to the higher level of social acceptance of this trend amongst all social classes. The Cape Town customers are more discerning in terms of items and price points. They prefer lesser known brands and aren’t drawn to the load pieces as much,” he says.
“Johannesburg customers love the most popular brands like LV and Gucci. They purchase the more expensive items. Some customers are drawn to the hunt of finding that unique, once-in-a-lifetime rare piece to add to a collection,” he concludes.