• Tiffany Black

Is Depop gentrifying second hand shopping?



Repurposing a kid’s t shirt from the noughties into a sassy garm for Glenith on a night out in Manchester, may be #fashun, but it’s also potentially hurting the most vulnerable, those who rely on charity shops to source clothing out of need, not for any aesthetic decision. We had a theory that the new spate of second hand shopping, despite being great for the environment, could actually be resulting in a gentrification of products, which have notoriously been cheaper and easier to access for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Our hunch proved correct. We found that:

  • 72% of respondents felt that resellers are gentrifying second-hand shopping

Plus sized t-shirts picked up for a tenner at Sue Ryder, and then repurposed into oversized dress shirts for slimmer bodies, but sold for 7x the price, then leads to a disproportionately negative impact on those who find it harder to find clothing in their size anyway, and is often more likely to impact lower earners.



Interestingly, people who feel reselling clothes at a higher price is ethical, were split 50/50 as to whether this has resulted in a gentrification of second hand fashion. This sentiment could be down to a guilty conscience, as a second hand seller themselves (54% of respondents), or a feeling of pragmatism that upselling products is not unethical, just business, and purely makes business sense. We gained this insight through the filter and compare function, through stacking and interlocking the data from question 2 – are resellers gentrifying and question 3 – is it ethical, and drawing out the analysis.





What are their buyer behaviours?


The tide has truly turned on fast fashion, with the majority of respondents (60%) saying they would prefer shopping second-hand than brand new. It seems there’s been a shift in collective consciousness over the last year, whether it’s just pandemic introspection at play, lots of time and an awful lot to mull over, or a gradual culmination in terms of buyer expectation and ethically sourced fashion. We would say, a mixture of the two. Many turn to online shopping purely because it’s easy, in the tournament mode question this option came out on top winning 87/100 times when pitted against other options and saving money quite surprisingly came in last, when people were asked for their reasons for shopping online.






Price is no object


Quality of products won out every time, over price.Whether or not the clothes were first or second hand, was irrelevant, as we gathered by cross filtering question 4 – do you prefer new or second hand & Q5 – What is most important? Quality/ Price. We can therefore deduce that fashionistas will pay whatever they need to, in order to get the lewk they’re after. So, turns out there's a cost for your Y2K sassy garms, purchasing second hand now either online or via apps has culminated in a gentrification and elitist impact on the space.



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