On Monday, luxury consignment website The Real Real announced an exciting collaboration called the Gucci x TRR Shop. It’s exactly what it sounds like; a curated and authenticated shop full of previously-loved Gucci goods.
Seems simple, sure, but in the world of luxury bags and accessories, it’s actually pretty groundbreaking. Not only is Gucci encouraging customers to consign its used items through this program, but the brand is also incentivizing people to purchase secondhand as well. According to a press release, for every item bought or sold, they will plant one tree through the One Tree Planted program.
For a long time, many of the big fashion houses claimed that the consignment industry was cheapening their brand by taking away the exclusivity factor. Many also argued that it was difficult to control the quality of what’s being sold through third-party sites. In fact, Chanel sued The Real Real for “selling counterfeit Chanel handbags” in 2018. At the time, The Real Real called the suit “a thinly-veiled effort to stop consumers from reselling their authentic used goods, and to prevent customers from buying those goods at discounted prices.”
But the problem with gatekeeping around secondhand items is that they are one of the best solutions for a better future in fashion. And, if brands truly want to prioritize sustainability, then it’s a move they all need to take in one way or another.
While there is no agreed-upon figure about how much pollution and waste the fashion industry creates, there is data that tells us that thousands of tons of textile waste end up in landfills each year. Plus, there have even been reports that overstock from some of the higher-end brands is often burned to keep pieces from going on sale. It’s a huge problem that doesn’t have a singular solution, however, creating new collections – even if it’s made out of sustainable or recycled materials – isn’t necessarily the best one to combat this particular issue. The shift towards the future needs to also include less production, and the best way to do that is to encourage people to sell back or buy items that aren’t from the latest season.
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The resale market is massive, and only getting bigger (it’s expected to grow to $64 billion by 2025) — meaning that the buying and selling of designer goods is going to happen regardless of whether or not the brands want it to. By participating in it, Gucci is not only adding a layer of authentication to make sure that counterfeits are not accidentally making their way into the system, but they are also legitimizing it as a way to own and participate in the luxury market. And while we need to see how this plays out, removing the stigma around consignment shopping is ultimately a step in the right direction.