Study: Preloved Luxury is More Sustainable than Fast Fashion
Hong Kong/ Fashionista/ Shopping

Here’s Why Pre-Loved Luxury Is More Affordable Than Fast Fashion


It’s an ongoing debate, even today: would you pick quality or quantity? Which would you prioritize? In our modern world, it seems as if people have been overwhelmingly shifting towards fast fashion. Trends, which are quick and ever-evolving, have tempted consumers to have a quantity-over-quality mindset.

Fortunately, others are pushing back. “Fast fashion is a false economy,” said Dounia Wone, Chief Impact Officer at e-commerce platform, Vestiaire Collective. An enterprise that focuses on circularity, Vesitiare is top of mind for those looking to purchase pre-loved luxury items that are ultimately, more sustainable than a checkout from Shein.

“Buying cheap fast fashion is deceptive as, in the end, you end up replacing items again and again. Circularity benefits not only consumers’ wallets, but also protects our planet.”

The cost-per-wear metric shows that pre-loved luxury is worn more times than fast fashion

Vesitaire has gone out of their way to prove their belief, working with Vaayu, a carbon management system, to delve into consumer behaviour. Analysing responses from over 13,000 people alongside 250,000 transactions, Vesitaire has dived into the cost-per-wear metric.

Made mainstream by social media, the cost-per-wear metric equates to first subtracting the resale value from the initial price and then dividing this outcome by the number of wears. This metric aims to reveal the true cost of an item based on frequency of use, total lifespan, and resale value.

In this way, fast fashion becomes less attractive as it proves that fast fashion is worn less often than pre-loved luxury, thereby making it a less sound financial decision.

“In today’s climate of inflation, it is obvious that neither people nor the planet can afford fast fashion,” said Fanny Moizant, president and co-founder of Vestiaire. “This is a wake-up call to combat overconsumption and overspending fueled by tempting low prices.”

Luxury shoes are worn more times than fast fashion shoes

What the report discovered was that pre-loved luxury shoes, for example, are (on average) worn 86 times, whereas fast fashion-produced shoes were worn 66 times. Yet, this isn’t even the most staggering finding. Cheaply produced dresses were worn nine times, while pre-loved dresses were worn 71 times, on average. This is almost eight times more cost-per-wear on average. This puts the cost-per-wear value of fast fashion dresses at US$5.66 whereas the cost-per-wear value of pre-loved luxury comes at only US$1.56.

Pre-loved designer bags also have an average of 72% lower cost-per-wear and their resale value is much more significant. Its cost-per-wear was US$2.56 while fast fashion bags came at US$9.05. Across all categories and price points, pre-loved curated fashion pieces offer about 33% lower cost-per-wear versus fast fashion, which are worn two times less on average.

Those who own pre-loved fashion also hold onto their items 31% longer than they hold onto fast fashion items. This makes a lot of sense, as fast fashion items are seen as less valuable due to the way they are made and the sheer quantity of them all. So, while it may be tempting – or even seemingly reasonable at the time – to purchase fast fashion, remember that in the long run, it’s bound to cost you more.

“Our mantra ‘Think First, Buy Second’ makes more sense than ever now,” Wone said.

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