A few years ago, Gen Y or Millennials (born between 1981 to 1996) were rewriting the future of designer brands. According to Bain & Company, by 2025, 90s kids and babies will represent 40 percent of the global luxury goods consumption. However, it seems like the younger generation is giving Gen Y a run for their money.
Consumers belonging to Gen Z (born between 1997 to 2009) began buying designer goods at the young age of 15, approximately three to five years earlier than the previous generation. By 2030, a report featured on CNBC revealed that Zoomers are set to become the biggest buyers of luxury goods by far, representing 80 percent of global purchases.
While the above information is incredible news for the house of Chanel, Dior, and several others dominating the fashion scene, it also brings attention to the prevalence of overproduction, overconsumption, and waste in the fashion industry.
Surprising Facts About Waste in the Fashion Industry
In the United States, 85 percent of unused textiles and unsold clothing are in landfills. The average American throws away 37 kilograms (81 pounds) of clothes annually, which is equivalent to the weight of an 11-year-old child. Making matters worse, workshops incinerate materials that don't end up in landfills. Unfortunately, burning fabrics release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming. Furthermore, since 30 percent of all clothing produced does not sell, many brands discard them before releasing new season collections. No wonder sayings like, "out with the old, in with the new" and "so last season" are popular among fashion enthusiasts.
As for the global leather industry, 800,000 tonnes of material go to waste each year. Workshops rarely use or repurpose trimmings, shavings, and off-cuts from the manufacturing process. In consequence, these top-grade, unused, freshly dyed, or tanned leather pieces go straight to the trash.
How the Pre-Owned Luxury Market Is Making a Difference
The second-hand luxury goods market is growing faster than ever, as the younger generations have developed a passion for collecting designer handbags, clothes, and all-things luxury. As the youth of Generation Alpha (born between 2010 to 2024) approach their teenage years, it's only a matter of time before they make designer investments like their predecessors. And, if history repeats itself (as it often does), Gen Alpha may even surpass Millennials and Zoomers as leading luxury goods consumers.
In hindsight, though high prices continue to drive demand for luxury brands, the truth is that not everyone can or wants to buy retail-priced designer goods. This burning desire for designer items at discounted prices birthed the fast-growing resale industry, which encompasses luxury consignment sites and online showrooms like The Relux. Reputable resellers such as ourselves offer alternatives to fast fashion and prevent goods from ending up in landfills, salvaging what no longer sparks joy in others and finding new homes for preloved pieces.
Benefits of Buying From the Second-Hand Luxury Market
How else are we helping the cause? What's in it for the buyers? Here is a quick rundown of how we and businesses similar to ours influence countless luxury consumers to shop sustainably.
1. Buy authentic designer items at affordable prices
Luxury resale gives shoppers access to goods from the best designer brands, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany vs. Cartier, and Rolex, among others. From handbags and wallets to jewelry and timepieces – the luxury resale market offers it all, often at rates more affordable than retail.
Also, you know how, sometimes, you walk into a boutique and they never have what you want? Whether your dream designer item is truly out of stock or the sales representative is saving it for a different client (allegedly), walking out of the store with nothing in hand can be disappointing – especially if you traveled all the way to Paris or Italy.
Luckily, the secondary luxury market offers a range of products at less costly price points, giving buyers the opportunity to find and buy their dream designer items.
2. Experience luxury for the first time (responsibly)
Many young designer enthusiasts are itching to get their hands on a popular designer bag or jewelry piece from leading brands. However, these youngsters often value access to luxury more than owning designer goods forever. In other words, they want a quick taste of luxury and not necessarily an investment piece to keep forever.
As experiencing luxury may be more important than ownership for Generations Y, Z, and Alpha, shopping in the second-hand designer market is a responsible way for them to acquire a high-end item temporarily (and for less), as opposed to buying new from fast fashion or contributing to the industry's negative environmental impact. And, if they ever lose interest in their first taste of luxury, they can always resell, potentially earn a profit, and continue extending the item's life.
3. Promote sustainable shopping and reduce carbon emissions
More and more luxury consumers shop with a purpose, staying committed to sustainability. The results of a survey conducted by BCG and Altagamma even demonstrated that sustainability influences the purchasing decisions of roughly 64 percent of Millennials.
Further contributing to the waste-reduction and anti-global warming causes, various companies are in the process of launching a sustainability calculator. This online tool aims to help consumers track how their high-end purchases affect the environment.
Sustainability calculators are "fashion footprint tools" that detail the overall impact of individual materials (cotton, canvas, leather, metal, etc.) incorporated into the items people buy. These tools can also explain the sustainability advantages that pre-loved fashion offers. For instance, the tool may inform a customer that the carbon footprint of cow leather is 110.0 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per square meter, making cow skin almost seven times more climate dangerous than synthetic leathers by the square meter.
Through sustainable calculators, shoppers may begin to understand the environmental impact of their buying decisions.
The Bottom Line: Choose Pre-Owned Over New
Modern luxury shoppers are buying pre-loved designer goods to satisfy their love and admiration for luxury brands. In the process of shopping pre-owned rather than new, consumers are also protecting the environment from further harm, eliminating the demand for new items that deplete natural resources and require additional energy to produce.