The RealReal to fashion brands: Embrace resale or get left behind

ness GlamCorner, at the Melbourne Fashion Festival.

“Our community has now shared over 500 tonnes of clothing, imagine if retailers and other brands would start having rental, that number could go significantly higher,” Khaing-Jones said.

From formal wear to maternity

GlamCorner, which first launched in 2012 and, until recently, primarily offered formal dresses and other occasionwear for one-off rental, has now expanded into everyday wear, casual wear, corporate attire and recently, maternity.

“We truly feel we’re so much closer to our mission in reducing fashion waste and meeting our customers needs in any part of their journey,” Khaing-Jones said.

In October last year, GlamCorner partnered with David Jones as the department store chain decided to take another step toward sustainability. The partnership sees David Jones launch its own rental hub on both the GlamCorner website and its Elizabeth Street flagship store.

Khaing-Jones said clothing rental services give customers access to designer clothing and give designers the chance to get faster feedback from consumers on the quality and durability of their products.

Quality and durability

Durability is a part of the purchasing decision process at GlamCorner where items need to last for more than 20 to 30 rounds of washing. It is also an important factor in the resale business.

According to James Rogers, director of sustainability at the online resale marketplace The Real Real, they always check items to ensure they’re in good condition.

With The RealReal focusing on luxury resale, Rogers said they know they are reselling quality items since luxury is synonymous with quality and durability, factors that buyers mostly look for in luxury items.

“We have a team that authenticates our items and a store for people to visit if they don’t trust online stores,” he said. 

Luxury gets on board

The RealReal partnered with Gucci last year to launch an online shop featuring pre-loved Gucci items and promote circularity in luxury fashion. For all Gucci purchases or US consignments made through The RealReal, both companies will plant a tree through the non-profit organisation One Tree Planted to help with their global reforestation efforts.

Consignment of women’s and men’s Gucci clothing on The RealReal has saved 230 metric tons of carbon and more than 10 million liters of water when compared to the environmental costs of manufacturing those items for the first time, according to the platform.

“Together we’re shining a global spotlight on resale that we hope will encourage all consumers to support the circular economy and join us in reducing fashion’s carbon footprint,” Rogers said.

Next five years

A recent report on the online clothing rental market conducted by ResearchAndMarkets.com indicated that the rental market is thriving and is expected to reach a value of US$2.08 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.7 per cent during 2020 to 2025.

The study emphasised that this emerging trend of wearing designer apparel without actually owning them is especially popular among millennials who want to keep up with the ever-changing fashion trends without contributing to the growing waste problem in the fashion industry.

The clothing resale market, which is currently estimated to be worth US$30-$40 billion according to a study commissioned by luxury resale platform Vestiaire Collective, is forecast to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 15-20 per cent globally over the next five years. This expected to be even higher in developed markets which could see 100 per cent year-on-year growth.

“This is where the industry is going and retailers and brands that don’t embrace the resale market will be left behind,” Rogers said.