When fashion fans hear the word transitional, we think of light jackets you can wear year-round, but many of us are going through a different type of transition: Lifestyles, not seasons. If you are actively trying to consume more sustainably, you'll already know how hard it can be to find yourself suddenly in need of a new pair of pants. Want to leave fast fashion behind, but don't quite have the budget for your favourite slow fashion brands and local designers? Renting is always an option, but what about when you need new staples? Welcome to the wonderful world of resale!
If you think resale is just another word for vintage, think again. Resale attracts more quality clothing, contemporary design, accessories, and designer brands because it was born in the world of luxury goods, not fast fashion or mainstream retail. Some modern e-commerce companies have been built on resale, like Vestiaire Collective and Fashionphile, specialising in lightly worn and difficult to find luxury items. There are also peer-to-peer sites like Poshmark, ThredUp and Depop, which allow people with good taste (including a lot of bloggers and fashion editors) to make money selling cool clothes, even without deep pockets.
Like vintage, shopping resale can be difficult to navigate, but that’s why we’re here! There are a few different ways to go about it in South Africa, and they are all easy ways to save on cash, help the planet, and maybe make some money selling items of your own.
Keep these 3 rules in mind when shopping resale:
- If it’s designer, buy it from a business that authenticates and possibly guarantees originality. No one wants to pay Chanel money if it’s definitely not Chanel.
- If it’s a peer-to-peer platform, ask lots of questions and negotiate your price! Things like visible damage you may need to repair, how often it’s been worn, or a care label confirming that something is 100% silk can all factor into how much you end up paying.
- As with any other way to shop, buy only what you will love and wear, don't rush it, and have fun!
Now that you’re primed and prepped, here are a few fun ways to shop resale in South Africa:
- Private sales on social media. If you like fashion, and you have Instagram, you probably follow a few people with great style. More and more, people are using Instagram to clear their closets when they relocate or even just move across town, so keep an eye out for lightly worn gems at great prices. The jacket of your dreams could be waiting for you in a friend of a friend's Instagram story. It will take much more patience and a little more work, but you may also find something interesting on Facebook Market.
- Markets & swaps. When they’re not on stories, they’re at weekend markets. Sometimes the markets are on stories too, because Instagram is where fashion congregates these days! Ask around for upcoming markets in your area. Curated pop ups are especially popular now, and some are hosted by sustainability initiatives like Twyg & Swap social.
- Yaga. If you’ve been waiting for Depop to arrive in SA, Yaga could be the answer to your prayers. This peer-to-peer platform is still pretty new, and web only for now, but it's optimised for mobile and we’re crossing fingers and toes for an app soon.
- Bonus: Stylist wardrobe sales! Some of my favourite items have been things I bought from stylist friends who were clearing their rails. You'd be surprised at what stylists get their hands on, and what they let some of it go for! Much like a sample sale, you can find rare and sold out pieces from awesome brands and cool designers, but also like a sample sale, there may be just one or two of each item and the available sizing range is usually pretty small. Start with @fashionlibraryjhb.