At the Global Fashion Summit taking place in Copenhagen this week, many industry executives are aiming to discover more sustainable solutions for their operations via collaboration and the sharing of data and collaboration. Among influential companies in attendance is French resale e-tailer Vestiaire Collective.
Resale is eclipsing e-commerce, which is taking a nosedive as more people go back to in-store shopping. On-site at the Global Fashion Summi, Glossy talked to Dounia Wone, Vestiaire Collective’s chief sustainability and inclusion officer, about the key takeaways the event has presented for the resale space.
What message has this event sent, in terms of the importanve of resale?
“In 2019, Vestiaire Collective was a participant in the GFS, and we were small and put in a corner somewhere. Now, our CEO is talking on the main stage, which shows the [growing] importance that secondhand has in the fashion industry. 2020 and the pandemic were huge accelerators, forcing every [fashion company] to stop, rethink their [business] model, and consider [incorporating] resale and circularity into their systems. This isn’t about changing everything and stopping what they’re doing. Both before and now, it’s about what brands can add on top of what exists already and what they’re doing well.”
Brands are now taking control over resale. How does Vestiaire Collective figure into that?
“With the brand engagement in resale, it’s our turn to look at our business model. We know how to do secondhand. We built this brand around a different set of pillars: fashion, the attractiveness of our catalogue, and the trust of customers in model and our authentication, which is different than other companies. So [the question became]: What do we do with all that data and information, and the consumers we have? We are now sharing our expertise, which is why we created the resale-as-a-service model. It’s a new model for us, and we’ve run pilots with brands like Alexander McQueen and Mulberry. We are also in conversation with Courreges.”
What key takeaways did the Global Fashion Summit present for you?
“[It reiterated that] you cannot change without collaboration — without alliances, friends, and marketplaces like us, and also with governments and policymakers. The change will only happen when everyone is on board with trying to figure out new ways to do things.
If a company, like digital ID innovators EON, just brings the solution and no one gets on board, then this change becomes difficult. [Looming] questions are [often the cause]: Who owns the data? Does the consumer really own what they get? If I’m buying that shirt, is the data on that shirt or the ability to resell it mine, or is it confined to someone else? That’s why you need alliances to spread that information and bring out elements of storytelling. Now, the question is: How do you make the consumer understand that they’re choosing the right brand for social or environmental reasons?”