Vestiaire Collective – the “second hand Net-a-Porter”
Make it last talks to co-founder Fanny Moizant about sustainability, unwanted designer pieces and contemporary ways of consuming fashion.
Vestiaire Collective is the upcoming recommerce site for curated second hand luxury fashion on everyone’s lips (and a recent obsession of ours). The social media-style webshop sells pre-owned designer merchandise that is authentic, on-trend and in perfect condition – guaranteed – a concept so successful that Condé Nast aquired a stake in it. We met up with co-Founder Fanny Moizant in the London office for a chat about their thoughts on sustainability, unwanted designer pieces and contemporary ways of consuming fashion.
Your concept of selling pre-owned luxury fashion online is great from a sustainable point of view. Was sustainability ever a driving force behind the business?
– Not really… We are no green fanatics. Above all, we are fashion lovers. We are all crazy shoppers who barely wear most of our wardrobes. With Vestiaire, the idea was to give unworn garments in the back of people’s wardrobes a new life. Promoting reuse is obviously good for the planet and in that sense sustainability is right in the middle of what we do. And we like to favour a more sustainable mindset – if you don’t wear your stuff, don’t just let it lie around – there might be someone out there, maybe in a different country, who is craving for that piece in your wardrobe which you barely use. Make them happy, give them access to it. This is what we promote to our members; it is sustainability made fun – seeing your clothes worn by another person in another context, styled differently.
You work a lot with community building and function almost as a social media site. Explain.
– On the Vestiaire site there is a big sense of community – our customers communicate and support each other by uploading pictures, commenting on each others listings and outfits and helping each other in the search for specific items. It has turned out a bit like a Facebook for fashion! In France we have heard stories of people who have been commenting on each others profiles and ended up going on monthly shopping trips to Paris together and consequently becoming friends in real life. It is fun and it is a new shopping experience. We like to work organically, we like to hear what the community loves and act after that. Ideas generally come from the community to us – we do not work from top to bottom.
So how do you work? You have been compared to both Ebay and Net-A-Porter?
– We have been called the ”second hand Net-A-Porter” a few times which is great. Generally speaking, quality and trust are the major driving forces behind Vestiaire – in France back when we started Ebay was massive, but we all had had bad experiences of buying designer items on there and ending up receiving copies. At Vestiaire, we have a specialist team who are checking all products we sell to make sure that they are not counterfeit. We also work with the brands directly; if for example we have doubts about the authenticity of a Chanel bag we will give Chanel a ring and they will give us advice. Quality and curation is key – we want the people in our community to feel confident that they will receive just the authentic, on-trend product they ordered.
With 2.4 million members from 40 countries and 1,000 new products uploaded on the site each day, how do you make sure that your offering stays orderly, appealing and relevant?
– We have specialist curators who work as Stylists/Buyers at the heart of the business. All items published on the site first go through their hands to make sure that we stay edited and relevant in terms of style and quality. They know their stuff and generally decline about 30 percent of products sent in.
So now, what’s next?
– This year we have jumped into expansion – we opened our German site in the beginning of the year and recently launched in Italy. In addition we are planning to open up in Spain and the Nordic countries in the near future. We are also about to launch a campaign called StyleCycle where we collaborate with charities and celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Derek Blasberg who donate pieces from their wardrobes to be auctioned out on the site with the proceeds going to a charity of their choice. It is amazing to have these great style influencers involved and an important opportunity for Vestiaire – which is still a little start-up – to gain credibility.
Words by Ada Källgren
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