Why Will the Secondhand Clothing Market Boom in 2020?

Everyone knows that fashion is cyclical. That pair of flair denim your mom wore back in the 1970's? They're back with a vengeance. Those puffy sleeves that take us down memory lane? One in every colour, please!

But designing new clothes with vintage eras in mind isn't the only way to get the look. Secondhand clothing is making a comeback, and we know why. With everything from the environment to affordability part of the picture, sporting one-of-a-kind secondhand fashion is the latest trend.

As we make our way into the 2020 fashion seasons, we expect to see this market boom with grace and gusto alike.
(Picture: @sofiamcoelho)

The Eco-Conscious Era is Upon Us

It's the dawn of a new decade, and with that switch comes a novel way of thinking. This year, people are more eco-aware than ever before—and for good reason.

With our urgent need for climate action, it only makes sense that more and more businesses would fall into the sustainability space. According to Entrepreneur, environmentally focused brands have the upper hand going into 2020.

"Realizing the 3P problems [of pollution, plastic and preservation], any start-up that addresses this problem either as social impact or as a commercial venture will get a good hearing and will have money and access to better resources at its disposal than other kinds of businesses." - Entrepreneur
So where does secondhand fashion come into play with all this? With each year that passes, the clothing production industry uses 108 million tons of non-renewable resources. Let's lay it all out on the dresser:

      • The more clothes we produce and purchase, the more waste we're creating.
      • The more waste we're creating, the more we pollute our planet.
      • The more we pollute our planet, the worse off we are.
      • So choosing to reuse what's already here keeps our waste and pollution to a minimum, all while keeping our planet happy.
Now that's what we call an eco-conscious recipe! With secondhand clothing, shopping with the planet in mind no longer holds a luxury price tag, and that's something any shopper can get behind.  

Haute for Resale Value

As much as we loooove talking about sustainability, eco-friendliness isn't the only reason why secondhand clothing is seeing such a boom. For fashionistas who want to fuel their passion without breaking the bank, secondhand has merit.

The availability of resale in the luxury market allows consumers to snag their favourite runway moment at a price they can actually afford. 




Secondhand buyers may be new to the couture or luxury world, and they need to ease into the arena for their own sake. These may be people who just can't afford a full-price Spring 2020 find, but that doesn't mean they can't own apparel from the top names in the biz!

Lightly worn articles in perfect condition from last year's basket, well-preserved vintage from decades past—whatever the find, secondhand is an honourable way to bring your closet up a few echelons, and do so for less than the cost of brand new. Scoring designer clothing at a dropped value is a clever way to give yourself a reputation of luxurious wear.

For 2020, people are catching on.  




One-of-a-Kind Secondhand Finds

If you have the urge to be seen in something fresh every time you go outside, you can do so without withering away your savings. Secondhand, to the rescue!

The paparazzi catch celebs in novel ensembles every time they leave the house. This has influenced the street-chic folks, who increasingly aim to be photographed in daring attire that bests their last look.
Thrifting is one of the best ways to find unique clothing that goes beyond the status quo. It's how you'll find articles that are literally one of a kind. It's how you discover outfits that toe the line between novelty and trend.

It only makes sense that we tire of our old outfits. After all, we're dynamic characters who grow and learn each day. Resale clothing allows us to extend the life of an article. We have the chance to put a once-loved piece of fashion into the hands of someone new who will appreciate it for all its worth. And we get the chance to take on someone else's closet, too!


(Picture: @sofiamcoelho)

2019 Market Growth for Secondhand Clothing

Thanks to ThredUp, a leading online secondhand clothing market, we've got the lowdown on last year's resale fashion market growth. Here's the takeaway:

  • By 2023, experts expect the total secondhand apparel market to reach a whopping $51 billion USD.
  • 64% of women have bought or are willing to buy secondhand clothing. This is a nearly 20% leap from the 2016 report!  
  • More consumers expect sustainable and ethical clothing production than ever before—59% of them, to be exact.  
  • Almost ¾ of consumers prefer to buy from brands they know are environmentally sustainable. Just a few years back, this number was barely half.
  • In 2017, the average number of articles' in any given shoppers' closet was 164. By the end of 2019, that number dipped to 136. Rather than buying less, people are rotating more.   

Those are some killer numbers, don't ya' think? At Tydløs, we're confident that this upward trajectory of thrifted clothing will propel into 2020, creating a secondhand market boom like never before.


Resale's on Track to Best Fast Fashion

Fast fashion has had the upper hand for long enough. Major names like TopShop and Zara cheaply churn out style after style, keeping profit at the forefront of their efforts. Despite their lead, secondhand clothing is on course to overcome the obstacles that fast fashion has put in their way. 

Go, thrifters, go!

In 2018, the fast fashion market was worth $35 billion USD. At the same time, the secondhand market had a $24 billion USD share. Experts predict that these numbers are going to see a real shift this year and this decade.

In fact, they expect secondhand clothing to reach the $64 billion mark by 2028, a time when fast fashion will have kept its pace at $44 billion.

While it's hard to believe that fast fashion will fall behind resale, it makes total sense. Last year, millions of fast fashion clothing articles we're upcycled into the resale market, with nearly 600,000 of them sent to ThredUp. Eventually, people will skip the middleman and go straight to the reselling source—which is exactly how secondhand clothing is bound to get the upper hand.  


Ok, Boomer—You Have More in Common with Millennials Than You Thought

As much as older generations like to talk smack on their millennial counterparts, there's no denying that these two wildly different communities have a lot in common. What's one of their similarities? Secondhand clothing, of course.

Out of all secondhand shoppers

  • 31% are boomers, ages 56 and up
  • 33% are millennials, ages 25-37
  • the remaining 36% are either Gen Z (ages 18-24) or Gen X (ages 38-55)

If we look to the future of secondhand clothing, we fall more onto the younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z trendsetters between the ages of 18 and 37 are adopting the resale craze at a higher rate (2.5 times higher, to be exact).

If this proves anything, it's that the secondhand industry is doing a heck of a good job marketing to young, stylish audiences. 

With perks like frugal shopping, unique clothing and premium options at your beck and call, it only makes sense that the trendsetters of today would be looking to yesterday for something they can wear tomorrow.


Hunting, Not Shopping

Thrifting is more than shopping. It's a hunt for that next exciting piece. It's a quest for an invigorating ensemble. It's a venture into the unknown. You're unsure of what you'll find, so when you finally stumble upon that perfect somethin', you've exceeded your expectations by a landslide.

Just like dressing fashionably in general, sifting through thrifty articles is an acquired skill. Whether online or in person, knowing where to look and how to shop takes practice.

Think about it this way: those clothes that are up for resale were someone's trash, but they're bound to be another's treasure. You have to hunt for the pieces that speak to you. 

The thrill of the thrifting hunt is a scientifically proven feeling. Whether you're after a bargain or a jewel doesn't matter. What matters is your capacity to delve into the unknown, make the most of that stimuli and curate your collection into one that's lived many lives.




Where to Score Secondhand

Luxury shoppers and secondhand shoppers are not mutually exclusive. With 26% of high-end shoppers also going for the thrifted echelon, there's no denying that secondhand store options are worth their weight in gold.

Here are our top picks for shopping secondhand:


Bags and fits for you, all for an affordable value that lets you move on to something new without fret.


With 30,000 new articles added to their collection every day, ThredUp's online shopping experience is one you definitely don't want to miss.

Rent the Runway

Through RTR online, you can Rent a premium dress for your next event, without the major investment. These outfits will be worn by others who have the same intent as you. Circular fashion, for the win!

The Real Real

Luxury consignment reseller The Real Real sells clothes and accessories for any gender and style.

Local Curated Collections

Secondhand curators in your area are bound to surprise you. Check your region for a fantastic way to combine small, local shopping with thrifting. You never know; your local hole-in-the-wall may just be your route to a two-piece suit you'll never replace.


Clearing Your Closet, Kondo Style

Thanks to Netflix, we're all about Marie Kondo'ing our life. Aside from the KonMari folding method (which we highly recommend), she's got some serious wisdom about clearing out the clutter.

If you want to cut down on your closet's density, we don't blame you. Just be sure to donate or resell those articles you're done with. Don't throw them in the trash unless they're ready to be rags! Trust us, someone will find value in them.

Over your clothing? Reselling it will help you contribute to the secondhand fashion industry instead of just buying from it. You become an integral part of circular fashion. Moreover, you get the chance to make a whole lot more room in your closet for some new-to-you clothes that are sure to tide you over until next season.

And if you really want to follow the teachings of the Netflix original series, you're going to have to thank each piece of clothing you rid of, if only for the sake of some good Kondo karma.


Rotate, Don't Accumulate

At the end of the day, secondhand clothing is about much more than peeking into the past. As we make our way into 2020, this booming trend becomes increasingly about our fate in the future. 

There's no denying that our planet is stressed, and we can relate. As a society, we have a tendency toward accumulation, but we also have the power to change our habits, rotate out what we don't want and rotate in what we do.

By delving into the secondhand niche, we're helping to ease one of the heftiest burdens the world over. We're reducing waste, lessening our reliance on natural resources and minimizing pollution. To us, that sounds pretty damn chic.

Anybody up for a Secondhand Spring 2020 fashion show?


Sustainable Fashion Starts with Secondhand

Being eco-friendly doesn't have to mean sacrificing your taste. With environmentally conscious fashion lines, luxury rental and secondhand clothing, your closet will reap the rewards of a thriving planet in style.

We're not saying you need to slow your pace. In fact, we encourage the fashionista in you. But by doing so with conscious consumption in mind—and a closet full of secondhand treasures—you can transform what it means to be on trend. At the end of the day, isn't that the trendiest statement piece of all?

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