Vestiaire Collective Luxury Resale Fashion

overall rating:

2.4

planets

Lucy Li
10/27/2021
No items found.

Vestiaire Collective is the leading global platform for luxury resale fashion items including bags, jewellery, shoes, accessories, watches and clothing with an inventory of 3 million items that includes 550,000 new listings every month. By buying secondhand from sites like Vestiaire, it minimises the amount of waste generated from materials, production and disposal of these goods alike making Vestiaire an inherently sustainable brand resulting in its high rating.

What it's made of:

3

If we take luxury handbags as an example (and one of Vestiaire’s most popular items with the Chanel Timeless bag being its most sold item), they are commonly made using materials such as nylon and lambskin leather. Nylon is made from petrochemicals, creating nitrous oxide when manufactured which is 310 times more potent than CO2, and it is non-biodegradable. Lambskin leather has a huge water footprint with almost 4000 litres of water being used to produce 1kg of lambskin leather. For every item resold on Vestiaire, these negative environmental impacts are avoided.

Big name brands have also in the past been known to discard unsold stock (e.g., in 2018 it was revealed Burbery had burned 28.6m euros i.e., US$37m worth of unsold stock). Vestiaire is partnering with luxury fashion brands including Alexander McQueen and Mulberry to resell their unworn pieces with Vestiaire preventing the huge waste from throwing away perfectly good stock.

Likewise, on the consumer side, over 60% of people’s wardrobes go unworn. Vestiaire’s platform addresses these issues by reducing the consumption of new products and so the emissions and waste that come along with their production resulting in its high rating.

How it's made:

2.2

Similarly, buying second hand via Vestiaire avoids all of the environmental damage caused by luxury fashion production such as water contamination from the chemicals used in production of goods. Vestiaire claims to reduce overall emissions by 90% compared to buying an unused product. Likewise, it avoids concerns about social issues such as ethical labour conditions when you aren’t directly buying from the creator of a product.

There are, however, some emissions still remain with the biggest source coming from shipping. To combat this, Vestiaire introduced a Direct Shipping option where buyers can opt out of their item authentication services which has saved over 1167 tons of CO2 since launching. There are also plans for the launch of more local items and shipping options. Packaging is another aspect of the product that produces negative environmental impacts. To address this, Vestiaire has launched a new packaging system that strips out unnecessary packaging that is now 100% reduced, recycled and recyclable.

This is promising that they are continuing to make their processes more sustainable, but trying to find readily available information on its exact carbon emissions and other impacts on the environment was not so easy. Like most brands, Vestiaire focuses on its positive contributions which is understandable but not so transparent docking its points.

Who makes it:

2

Vestiaire’s fundamental mission is to fight fashion waste, where fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil, by giving a second life to the clothes people no longer wear. Along with the concept of its platform, its branding calls for more sustainable consumption and promotes ways to reduce waste from fashion consumption such as its ‘Collective for Change’ programme where leading voices in sustainable fashion share insights and advice on its Instagram page. It is also an active member of groups that are pushing for a more sustainable fashion system such as the UN Fashion Alliance and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Vestiaire Collective was also the first resale platform to gain the B Corp certification indicating how they value ESG just as much as profit resulting in its high rating.

This goes beyond the scope of a sustainability review, but I thought it was worth mentioning - Vestiaire’s TrustPilot reviews (currently standing at 3 out of 5 stars) are questionable at best with an overwhelming number of the most recent reviews claiming their orders have gotten unexplainably cancelled or lost in the post. This is quite disheartening given the strength of the platform’s sustainability but reduces its overall rating.