COVID 19 And The Rise Of Fashion Resale

Fashion Resale shoes

Government imposed lockdowns have had a devastating effect on people’s lives. However, there is at least one great new trend arising from them. See how COVID has contributed to the rise of fashion resale

By Harleen Dorka

Most markets have been hit by government lockdowns in a seriously bad way. Wholesalers have taken a hit; retail floor staff have lost their jobs, and many companies – even large ones – are filing for bankruptcy.

Forced quarantines have put millions out of work permanently, and are said to be on their way to causing food shortages around the world. The situation is, indeed, dire. But there’s a tiny bit of good news in this scenario: fashion resale is on the rise. 

In fact, it is expected to grow from $7 billion this year to $36 billion by 2024. Resale was already a growing trend, but experts are suggesting that COVID-19 has only accelerated the trend. 

Among these experts is Robert Lockyer, CEO and founder of Delta Global, a provider of innovative and sustainable packaging solutions for luxury retailers. 

Robert believes: “The way in which the pandemic has changed the way we shop, consume and behave is playing into the hand of resale. And in turn, this is creating a shift that is allowing the fashion industry to become more sustainable. It is a trend that is disrupting the market for the better.”

But what exactly are these changes? Robert explains more about how Covid has contributed to the rise of fashion resale, below.

COVID 19 And The Rise Of Fashion Resale

The future of consumer spending 

It comes as no surprise that consumers will have tighter budgets for the foreseeable future due to the serious economic impact of forced government lockdowns. When it comes to shopping, fewer of us will be willing to separate with large amounts of cash for new luxury goods. But resale offers access to higher-end items at a price people are more willing to pay, which will be one driving factor for the market’s growth. 

Another will be at the opposite end of the consumption spectrum. For those of us who are in desperate need of cash, selling luxury items is one quick way of generating it.

Minimal lifestyles, environmental concerns

Another way how Covid has contributed to the rise of fashion resale is due to a change in attitudes towards consumption.

During the peak of the pandemic, when lockdown restrictions were heavily enforced and people had no choice but to remain at home, several collective shifts in thinking occurred.

More minimal living was one of these. This was spurred on by the effects of containment within just four walls and additional free time that had been saved from commuting and other daily chores. Pent-up frustration paired with more time on their hands encouraged people to clear out rooms and closets in a bid to make space and feel productive. 

Those in need of cash had more time to set up their own online shops, or to sell goods on existing stores like the Real Real or Farfetch. Consequently, this has been supplying the demand in the resale market. 

Furthermore, since we’re not going out so much to events or even in public in general, the need to don new clothing collections has been questioned by even the most devoted fashionistas.

Indeed, having lived a more minimal life for many months now, consumers’ eyes have opened wider to the effects their usual habits had on the environment. Whether it was daily commutes, heavy consumption patterns or the way of disposing waste, attitudes have changed. 

Enlightened attitudes on ethical consumption, then, are also driving the trend in fashion resale, allowing the fashion industry to become a genuine circular economy. People are increasingly aware that there are more than enough existing bags, shoes, and clothing in the world. Why should we create and buy new, when we can sell and trade old? 

COVID 19 And The Rise Of Fashion Resale

Retail offerings 

Rather incredibly, major retailers are now contributing to the rise of fashion resale, too.

For example? You only need to take a walk down London’s Oxford Street at the moment to see this. Those big letters plastered across Selfridges’ which read “Let’s change the way we shop”, represent how just one huge department store is contributing to the resale trend. 

Selfridges’ Project Earth program is one element of the business’ commitment to taking radical action to reduce waste. And Reselfridges is a move that will see the luxury brand become a key player in the pre-loved and vintage designer fashion market. The service allows luxury fashion followers to buy second-hand clothing and accessories from expert vendors. Soon, the store plans to roll out a selling function for the public, too.

But Selfridges isn’t alone in contributing to the rise of fashion resale. In recent weeks, we’ve heard of similar plans from Gucci, who has partnered with The RealReal, Levi’s and H&M’s COS label, too. 

It appears that these adjusted business structures and processes are a way for brands to navigate their way out of the disasters caused by lockdowns. Many supply chains have been disrupted by quarantines. Unfortunately, lack of new clothing orders has plunged millions of garment workers around the world into even deeper poverty. But selling existing, local items allows large retailers to be better positioned business for the future, at least.


Ultimately, COVID has contributed to the rise of fashion resale for many reasons. 

Although this is a positive development, we must not forget that it comes on the back of terrible devastation.

Certainly, a more circular fashion system is better for the planet, and better for those of us who have designer goods to sell. But it’s vital that we also address the huge economic depression that’s looming, and the displacement of millions of garment workers around the world. These will not be easy problems to solve.

Latest posts by Guest (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top