How Human Connection Builds Communities in Circular Fashion

People supporting people is at the heart of Depop's community strategy

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Fashion is more than clothing—it’s a way for people to explore and express their identity and values. Subcultures and the communities within them are created and supported by the choices people make about what they decide to wear and where and how they buy their clothes.

Neil Barrie, CEO of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, and Jumoke Adekunle, global brand marketing lead at Depop, joined Adweek during Social Media Week Europe to discuss building communities with authentic human connection at the center.

Revolutionizing fashion through community 

According to Adekunle, Depop is on a mission to revolutionize how the world consumes fashion by making secondhand clothing fun, accessible and something that people are eager to get involved in.

“The second part of our mission is that we are a community-powered ecosystem that’s kinder to the planet and kinder to people—that’s really about who we are,” she said. “Our community is first and foremost in our mission. It’s what drives us, what powers us, what gives us our energy. Community is at the heart of what we do. Diversity, building, collaboration, progression is really built into the work we do right at the center.”


When it comes to defining community, Adekunle said that it sometimes gets overcomplicated and overwhelming, but it’s really quite simple.

“I think one of the things about community is [that] it’s just people who have shared interest, whether it’s about circularity, culture, connection,” she said. “Words like culture and community have become a bit scary to people, and we’ve really made it more tangible in that it just means people who want to connect through different aspects as well.”

Putting human connection front and center

When trying to build a successful community strategy, Adekunle said it all comes down to human connection.

“You can’t fake that. It has to be community-centric work you do, and it has to be authentic,” she said. “The other thing for us is we are supporting people to grow their businesses—no matter what type of seller they are. It’s about people supporting people. I think at the heart of Depop, what makes it so special is that it’s people buying from other people. 75% of sellers on our platform are also buyers, so it’s encouraging that kind of ongoing relationship. Anybody in this room could set up a Depop shop, and in that shop you’ll find your own styles, how you want to represent yourself, who the people are that you want to talk to and you would be able to find your own community.”

Adekunle said social media is a powerful tool to help harness the power of human connection.

“We use our social platforms to tell brand stories, to show different trends and styles,” she said. “We also use it for promotion—how are we creating visibility for our sellers and driving equity for them? We do this through Sellers to Watch, a Day in the Life of a Depop Seller, and other activations that drive mutual value rather than one-way value extraction.”