Secondhand Has the Upper Hand in Designer Fashion

Orr Shakked of The Real Real on unlocking a new audience for the luxury market

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When it comes to luxury fashion and accessories from brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Tom Ford, people want the hottest items from top designers without paying full retail price.

Catering to them are a cottage industry of resellers including The RealReal, a top destination online and in person for those on the high-end bargain hunt.

During Brandweek, Adweek’s Brittaney Kiefer sat down with Orr Shakked, CMO of The RealReal, to discuss the benefits of secondhand fashion and how the company is expanding access to luxury brands.

What’s real?

As buyers embark on their journey into the luxury fashion market, some may not know where to begin. This is where marketplaces like The RealReal come into play.

“The RealReal is an authenticated luxury resale marketplace,” said Shakked. When it comes to luxury items like handbags and wallets, it’s hard to know what to look for to determine if an item is real or not. The RealReal has specialists who have the techniques and background of analyzing items before they’re sold to consumers, who have to be discerning amid the rise of fashion dupes and super fakes.

“People can have the confidence that what they’re buying is the real thing,” he added.

Fashion for all

Many people may think of designer items as only for the rich and famous, but The RealReal is on a mission to pave an avenue for accessibility to anyone looking to own luxury goods. “We like to think of fashion and luxury fashion in a different way where it’s inclusive,” Shakked said.

Not only is the company bringing luxury fashion within reach, it’s helping to redefine what it means. In years past, luxury fashion came across as reserved for the rich and/or famous, whereas now many people mix and match high-end and high street pieces, creating their own looks. “We empower people with knowledge about what their items are worth and where personal style comes into play,” said Shakked. “People can really express themselves in the way that they like to do.”

As more designer items become accessible to more consumers, we can expect to see modern fashion redefined, creating a new idea of what it means to be a designer consumer. “People can find unique, one-of-a-kind, incredible items that express their personal style instead of shopping for one collection,” Shakked said.

Not-so fast fashion

As more people are made aware of the environmental damage caused by fast fashion, many are looking for better ways to be sustainable and stylish at the same time. By investing in name-brand items, which tend to be better made and last longer, purchase frequency tends to go down.

“I think the other component is around sustainability. We know 40% of our customers tell us that the availability of luxury resellers is helping them move away from fast fashion and make a better choice for themselves that they’re more proud of,” Shakked said.

And maybe people can start feeling like they can not only say the designer of their clothing, but also that they got it secondhand. “There’s a sort of coming-out moment for resale where people can say, ‘Yeah, actually, this item is pre-owned and look how incredible it looks,'” he added.

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