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Buy Pre-Loved, Save The Planet.

Repurposing fashion is the next big thing.

The market for second-hand luxury goods is estimated to be worth some $24 billion and is growing at four times the rate of the primary luxury market. Where once upon a time second-hand goods may have been considered substandard or even frowned upon, today they are not only seen as acceptable but mainstream. With second-hand goods often referred to as ‘vintage’ or ‘pre-loved’ their appeal has grown exponentially in the last two decades as consumers seek items that are not only better value, but unique and highly sought-after.

Indeed, it’s not uncommon for entire business models to be based upon selling pre-owned luxury goods. In the UAE, several such business models exist. And since the UAE is one of the foremost consumers of luxury goods globally, there’s no shortage of supply in designer pieces looking for new homes. Many of those trading in pre-owned goods, however, have a global customer base, a trend not ignored by larger, global fashion retailers, such as Nordstrom and Macy’s, who have also entered the luxury resale market.

Used-luxury goods, which come at a fraction of their original price, make luxury instantly more accessible. A recent report published by online luxury retailer Farfetch, which surveyed 3,000 consumers across the US, UK, and China, demonstrated that cost-savings are the number one reason for purchasing pre-owned goods. But it’s not pricing alone that’s driving the market. Sustainability concerns are increasingly driving consumer purchases.

pre owned luxury clothing
H&M recently collaborated with luxury Italian label Giuliva Heritage on a sustainably-focused collection

The Fashion Industry’s Environmental Footprint

With the fashion industry accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions, there is considerable concern over the sector’s highly damaging environmental impact. Water consumption is a significant issue, with a year’s worth of drinking water required to produce one kilogram of cotton (the amount needed to make a single pair of jeans). Fast fashion brands are the primary culprit, producing multiple lines per season, with new collections appearing as often as every week. 

Waste is also a considerable concern, with 85% of our old clothes ending up in landfills. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they are driving the industry to do the same. It has become increasingly common for major retailers to have specific lines that adopt more sustainable practices. H&M’s sustainable and organic range Conscious, Levis Water<Less jeans and Topshop’s Considered line are just a few examples.

In support of its pre-owned luxury goods section, Farfetch recently launched a sustainability calculator. The tool enables consumers to check how their second-hand purchases have reduced their environmental impact in comparison to buying new goods. But luxury goods have always stood out in this regard. Made to stand the test of time, a single purchase will last a lifetime, even generations, in terms of both quality and style.

With Generation Z growing ever-more environmentally conscious,  62% preferring to shop from sustainable brands, we can only expect the trend towards pre-owned luxury to snowball. With increasing smartphone and internet penetration rates, we can also expect more consumers to sell their pre-owned goods on various social media platforms, including Facebook’s Marketplace.

While brands may have previously resisted the trend, believing it to be damaging to their sales, many are now embracing it as they become increasingly responsive to environmental concerns. Many now offer to exchange pre-owned goods for store vouchers. Examples include Stella McCartney’s partnership with TheRealReal, and Retold, which provides a similar service in Dubai. By supporting the circular economy, fashion brands further reduce industry waste.

used clothes for sale in Dubai
RETOLD’s entire business model revolves around pre-loved fashion

Embracing the Circular Economy

As the industry becomes smarter on all fronts, we can expect greater efficiency and less waste across all sectors. Technology has enabled many of these changes, combined with growing environmental awareness, and as governments around the world work to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, the fashion industry’s embrace of the circular economy is a step in the right direction. 

The market in pre-owned and repurposed luxury goods offers one such avenue that we hope to see more of in the future.

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Ghaliah Amin

At Home with Saudi Model Ghaliah Amin

Meet a woman on a mission.

In a world where impossible body types (read: skinny) are glorified, regardless of the cost, International No Diet Day is a celebration that deserves more recognition. Marked annually on May 6 to promote body acceptance and body shape diversity, it aims to help both men and women worldwide to appreciate their own bodies – a mission that Ghaliah Amin is all too familiar with.

She is widely hailed as Saudi Arabia’s first plus-size model, but in the process of breaking boundaries and defying stereotypes, prefers simply to be known as ‘a model from Saudi Arabia’. The Dubai-based model and TV host is also an outspoken body positivity activist – and full of surprises. For starters, she has a master’s degree in Art History and Museum Studies, a fact reflected in every inch of her eclectic apartment, where we spent an afternoon discussing filters, photo retouching, family pressure to lose weight, and the often-unseen resilience of Saudi women.

She also founded the Ana Ghaliah (I am precious) social media initiative to promote body positivity after first-hand witnessing the lack of diversity and inclusion in the fashion world. “Beauty is all about becoming the best version of you,” she says, setting out to remind all women that they’re precious, regardless of their shape or size. And because the correlation between a positive body image and improved mental health is undeniable, we’d be remiss not to celebrate this model – and role model – for her self-love message on International No Diet Day, today.

Watch The Video: Ghaliah Amin Gets Candid

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