Net-a-Porter Is Launching a Resale Pilot Program With Reflaunt
It’s strange to recall how a few years ago, resale was kind of a sticky subject in fashion. Now, brands and retailers aren’t just encouraging secondhand sales, they’re introducing their own in-house programs with unique twists. Last week, Gucci unveiled Gucci Vault, a digital concept store with customized vintage pieces and new garments by emerging designers, and tonight, Net-a-Porter announced a first-of-its-kind resale platform powered by Reflaunt. Starting this fall, the e-tailer will become a destination for buying and selling designer clothes, jewelry, handbags, shoes, and accessories all in one place.
It’s a marked shift from the way most of us have engaged with resale in the past: We buy new pieces in one place, then sell them in another. In contrast, Net-a-Porter’s consignment pilot will instantly position every item on its website as one you might eventually sell back. The hope is that it will inspire more confidence in customers to invest in luxury goods, touting precisely where they can resell them at a later date. (For handbag lovers, there’s a special incentive: You’ll be paid instantly for an accepted luxury bag, rather than waiting for another customer to buy it through Reflaunt.) The platform also aligns with Yoox Net-a-Porter’s sustainability strategy for 2030, which emphasizes the need for long-lasting garments and circularity. After debuting on Net-a-Porter in the United Kingdom this fall, the “re-commerce” experience will expand to the United States, Germany, and Hong Kong, as well as on the company’s other sites, Mr Porter and The Outnet.
“More than ever, our customers are looking for fashion that is not only designed to last, but can go on to be re-loved,” Alison Loehnis, company’s president of luxury and fashion, says in a release. “We are thrilled to partner with Reflaunt and offer our customers an effortless service that allows them to resell their designer pieces with ease. We see re-commerce as a true enabler to tap into greater product longevity by extending the lives of pre-loved purchases. This collaboration represents an exciting step in our long-term mission to drive the change at Yoox Net-a-Porter to a more circular fashion ecosystem.”
It’s worth mentioning that buying a one-year-old designer handbag—an item that’s unlikely to be thrown in the trash—isn’t really going to save the planet. Research has shown that we actually consume more when we believe something is “recycled” or “circular.” Last year, Maxine Bédat of the New Standard Institute provided some insight: “It’s terrific that more people are waking up to this concept [of secondhand] and that brands are getting in on it and finding a way to adjust their business models. Having said that, we can’t just ignore the research that has found that recycling symbols lead to more consumption… In order for us to actually curb our impact, it has to be [implemented as] a shift in the business model, and not just an additional revenue stream.”
The real change will come when secondhand surpasses fast fashion in terms of demand and aspiration, and when our access to gently-used clothing grows to a point where brands can actually start producing less. That will take time, but Net-a-Porter’s investment is a big step in that direction.