Resale platform unites circular fashion and new luxury

How the managed marketplace for pre-loved designer fashion offers solutions for consumption

In an interview with Cécile Wickmann, founder Rebelle

Rebel Interview Cecile Wickmann
Source & Copyright by Rebelle

Author: House of Eden

The second-hand platform for designer fashion, Rebelle, plans its IPO on Stockholm's Nasdaq First North Growth Market. Rebelle's secret for success: As a "managed marketplace", the platform takes over the entire process for the sellers. From the creation of professional edits and images to packaging, shipping, storage and the payment process as well as strict authenticity and quality testing of all designer pieces. For customers, this means a guaranteed high-end shopping experience.

Reason enough to present the vision of the founders Cécile Wickmann and Max Schönemann. In our interview, Cécile talks about the rapid resale boom, how pre-loved can solve the fast fashion problem and why the Rolex watch and Chanel handbag still maintain as number one status symbol and investment.

"As an essential element of circular fashion, resale is the polar opposite of fast fashion and a very clear solution to the dirty fashion industry."

 Portrait of Cecile Wickmann

Rebelle Founder Cecile Wickmann

What does New Luxury mean to you?

Luxury has a different meaning today than it did a few years ago. Owning status symbols becomes a temporary concept and thus becomes more flexible. “New” no longer has to mean “unworn or unused” but has a subjective character. In addition, the meaning of luxury has changed or expanded: While the term used to refer exclusively to expensive goods and services, it is increasingly important for younger generations that a brand and the associated company are socially and ecologically sustainable. And they also want to show this to the outside world.

Today, luxury also means quality to a much greater extent. Consumers pay attention to the purpose behind the brands as well as to the production. They prefer to invest in high-quality, durable products that also last a second or third life and which can be sold again for good money.

How do you explain the current resale hype?

Second-hand fashion has experienced a major image change in recent years and has now become mainstream. Today, the majority of fashion-conscious women are already buying second-hand clothing. More and more are already reselling clothes too. The main reason for this boom is a trend reversal in consumer behavior:

The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest industries in the world. Younger generations in particular have now understood this. They are increasingly demanding more sustainable products and services. While a few years ago our customer surveys were showing that lower prices have been the main purchasing factor for second-hand, but today it is clearly the sustainability aspect.

Source & Copyright by Rebelle

Consumers also looking for limited editions and vintage pieces that are no longer available in stores, in order to express their individuality. Corona has accelerated these trends. In addition, there is the trend towards tidyism, which was intensified during the lockdown: People have used their spare time at home to clean up and sort out. They find unworn pieces that they can monetize now.

This development can also be explained by psychology: The already existing trend towards minimalism is being reinforced by the fact that people, in a world that is uncertain and uncontrollable due to the pandemic, want to bring order to their own homes.

Can resale be the solution to fast fashion or is it just a quick fix?

As an essential element of circular fashion, resale is the exact opposite of fast fashion. We draw attention to conscious consumption and also return the clothes back to the cycle. This saves a huge amount of resources and greenhouse gases, that would be generated for the production of new clothes.

From our point of view, resale is actually a very clear solution for the dirty fashion industry. And probably also for many other industries if you keep in mind, that there is probably not a more effective way to consume sustainably than simply not buying anything new.

The Rolex used to be the ultimate status symbol, today it's more the sneakers, which product category currently has the greatest potential?

I would say that the Rolex is still very popular and many models continue to rise sharply in resale prices. However, it is interesting to note that other products, such as sneakers, can now also be found in the most desirable categories. However, the bestsellers among our predominantly female target group are still handbags.

secon-hand luxury goods rebel

Source & Copyright by Rebelle

Some fashion houses now increase their prices for new products several times a year. Paired with a strategy of artificial scarcity, this of course also causes resale prices to rise. Today, fashion enthusiasts are willing to spend more money on a luxury bag. Also out of the certainty of being able to resell them at a good price. In particular, collections that are no longer being produced (as well as limited editions or designer cooperations) are very desirable among fans and drive resale prices up.

On some models, such as the Birkin or Kelly Bag from Hermès you can achieve a direct return on investment. The increase in value from the new price in 2018 to the resale price in 2021 was 77% on average. Even those who bought a classic black Chanel Flap Bag Medium ten years ago for around €2.800 can now resell it for around €4.500 – even in good but used condition.

Luxury giants are increasingly investing in resale platforms. So can resale generate new groups of buyers for luxury brands?

In our view, that is clearly the case. First, the barriers on the resal platforms are often significantly lower. And what's more, of course, many second-hand products are simply cheaper and therefore affordable for a broader audience. In addition, there is the young, sustainability-oriented generation that buys resale because of the good fashion footprint. Gen Z and Millennials are the largest target gorup of any resale platform. This is certainly the case with services like Vinted and so on. It is true, however, that this target group currently has the highest growth rates in resale, which from our point of view is clearly ideological.

Luxury Wardrobe Rebelle

Source & Copyright by Rebelle

What is the future of resale and what is the vision for Rebelle?

The aim of all of us should be not to demonize the general fun of fashion, but simply to approach consumption with sustainable answers and solutions. It is important to us that we still need the primary industry, but we just have to rethink it. It is our vision that more and more people will actively deal with their footprint and that resale will become more important in all areas of life. For our segment, we would like to help ensure that preloved fashion takes up a constantly growing share in our closet and that fast fashion is bought less.

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