Used clothes are getting a high-touch, high-tech rebranding. Not into “secondhand,” with its whiff of musty, crowded Salvation Army racks? Maybe “archive fashion” suits you better — especially given the number of apps and services cropping up to feed the growing fashion-resale space.
The first companies to champion the idea were women’s sites ThredUp and Vestiaire Collective, essentially peer-to-peer consignment shops, which both launched in 2009; DePop, Poshmark and TheRealReal followed in 2011. Menswear got its answer in 2013 with Grailed. The site was first to focus exclusively on men’s pieces, and offered a platform for buyers and sellers who were previously stuck haunting niche forums. Two years later, sneaker resale platforms StockX and Goat gave sneakerheads the chance to shop rare and hyped styles that were previously all but untouchable.
Of all the upstarts, Grailed has wielded the deftest touch, exploring the many possibilities in men’s resale. The strictly peer-to-peer marketplace (stores and brands not allowed) is shoppable via app and provides a distinct style POV, something noticeably lacking on other platforms.
“We never want to be a faceless and voiceless company,” says Lawrence Schlossman, brand manager for Grailed. “Everyone who works here, to some degree, is a fashion enthusiast.”
Grailed might have a definitive point of view, but it’s inclusive: buyers can find everything from rare designer pieces and streetwear to vintage clothing and traditional brands, plus expertly curated sales and collections from celebrities and fashion industry insiders.
Schlossman says that Grailed’s success, and that of the fashion resale industry at large, is due in part to “secondhand being rebranded as archive fashion” — the recalibration lifted a stigma and added a premium shine. Not to mention guys were suddenly able to see economic opportunity in their well-curated closets.
“Not only do a lot of these iconic pieces within the menswear canon, regardless of genre or designer, hold their value,” Schlossman says, “they appreciate in value as well.”
Here, five sites to know now.
A platform that allows sneakerheads to sell rare kicks, with valuation visibility to rival the stock market. StockX incorporates a social media element so buyers can showcase personal sneaker portfolios.
Who It’s For: Sneakerheads
Year Founded: 2015
A peer-to-peer marketplace specializing in rare designer pieces, streetwear and vintage clothing. It curates sought-after garments that make it easy to discover hits from the past, and there’s designer education via the site’s blog.
Who It’s For: Menswear aficionados
Year Founded: 2013
The online equivalent of a flea market, with a staggering range of vintage, designer and run-of-the-mill apparel. Take advantage of the option to make an offer on any item.
Who It’s For: Deal hunters
Year Founded: 2011
Unlike many peer-to-peer services, TheRealReal has inventory; it authenticates each item and prices accordingly. It’s more expensive than other platforms, but the upcharge is for peace of mind — it eliminates much of the guesswork out of secondhand shopping for you.
Who It’s For: Designer enthusiasts
Year Founded: 2011
A favorite platform for makers, it’s also a go-to for vintage dealers specializing in everything from vintage Levi’s to rare Chimayo jackets to Fred Harvey-era jewelry.
Who It’s For: Vintage buffs
Year Founded: 2005
A version of this article originally appeared in Issue Nine of Gear Patrol Magazine with the headline “Secondhand Style’s Second Act.” Subscribe today.
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