As the stigma around second-hand clothes wears off, more and more people are buying responsibly. Changing values, vintage inspiration in fashion, eco-sustainability and a reaction against fast fashion have all led to the shift (Tracy Diane Cassidy & Hannah Rose Bennet, 2015). Estimates suggest that 40% of consumers’ wardrobes will be ‘used’ by 2022, with 27% of millennials and 37% of GenZers shopping second-hand. (ThredUp data).
Platforms like Farfetch and Rebag have attracted luxury shoppers everywhere. Sourcing and selling vintage, hard-to-find designer goods for a fraction of the price, they cater to collectors and enthusiasts alike.
If you offer luxury upcycled items, how can you tap into their rich past to bring them to life in a timeless way? Take customers down memory lane and create a connection between the past and aspirational identities of the product and their potential owners (Adıgüzel & Donato, 2021).
If it’s impossible to repurpose your recycled materials with any visual consistency, use this to your advantage. Assuming decent quality control, reframe any variation between products as a basis for unique, one-of-a-kind items. This will make them feel more special, story-laden and valued by consumers.
Swiss brand Freitag does just this, making bags and accessories from truck tarpaulin. Each bag sold is unique, with its own colours, patterns and its own special code, making it an exciting, yet highly-personal purchase.
How might you utilise any inconsistency in recycled materials to create a unique range of products that let each let their past shine through?