Each week at the Sustainable Shopper, Stylist talks to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This time, Sophie Hersan – co-founder of pre-loved luxury fashion marketplace Vestiaire Collective – talks to fashion editor Harriet Davey about giving incredible, premium pieces a new lease of life.
Always dreamt of owning a Chanel 2.55 bag or a Dior blazer? Or do you regularly find yourself with wish lists full of designer buys you consider taking out a loan for? If making the jump into investment items makes you hesitant to commit, pre-loved secondhand fashion is your answer.
Sophie Hersan, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective, created the online marketplace to form a community that can buy and sell authentic designer items. Closing the fashion loop and giving amazing pre-loved and vintage finds a new lease of life, the site is a go-to for the pieces you may want, but at a lower price point.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Making a saving while also being more sustainable, Vestiaire Collective is the way to achieve sartorial perfection while also recycling. Housing brands including Chanel, Prada, Saint Laurent, Dior and Burberry (to name a few), the site is a treasure trove of gems waiting to be loved for longer.
Here, the Sustainable Shopper talks to Sophie to see what Vestiaire Collective has up its fashionable sleeve when it comes to the world of secondhand luxury.
What is your earliest memory of sustainability?
Sophie: At the end of 2007, I became aware of the need for sustainability in the fashion industry after seeing the over-consumption and the boom of the fast fashion crisis.
In 2009, we founded Vestiaire Collective after noticing significant changes in the way that people were consuming fashion: buying more and wearing less.
The rise of social media and fast fashion has led us from an era of possession to an era of usage, where consumers are urgently in need of a sustainable solution to cope with this behaviour. This soon led to the creation of Vestiaire Collective, a company dedicated to providing an opportunity for people to extend the lifespan of their pre-loved items, therefore minimising waste in fashion.
Is there such a thing as truly sustainable fashion?
There has been a real shift and awareness in the industry. Since the beginning of Vestiaire Collective, it has been a question about the lifespan products.
I would say that fast fashion brands with low prices are not joining the circular fashion movement. In the meantime; new young brands appeared, innovative from the start and they put their design and quality at the forefront. They want products to be made to last.
Buying secondhand clothes is also the best way to prolong the lifespan of an item and has always been sustainable and responsible. We have solid data confirming the benefits of secondhand. For example, according to studies by Gellert and Cooperative, we know that reselling an item prolongs its life by 2.2 years on average, which reduces its carbon, waste and water footprint by 73%. We also know that buying a bag on Vestiaire Collective reduces its environmental footprint by up to 91% in comparison to a new one (this includes the digital and transport footprint induced by our service).
As a second hand platform, we empower our community to have a more direct, local and sustainable journey. There are also brands that are really committed to putting this mission at the heart of their development such as Aigle and Patagonia.
We recently announced a pioneering collaboration with Alexander McQueen, which aimed at empowering a move towards circular practices. Supported by innovative technology, the collaboration marks the launch of Vestiaire Collective’s new ‘Brand Approved’ programme and reinforces Alexander McQueen’s growing commitment to the durability of luxury fashion. This collaboration represents an exciting merging of compatible values and emphasises the importance of offering a more considered buying philosophy.