Falling in Love with Depop

An Online Community for Second Hand Shopping

By Natalie Drenth

Becoming sustainable in your fashion choices can sometimes feel like you’ve just embarked on an extreme diet. Prior to this, you may have lived a lifestyle where choice was limitless, convenience was king and prices were low. Now you are faced with a reality where you are constantly surrounded by temptation, and you have to make a real conscious effort to seek out what you know is right for you. Furthermore, the rising cost of this new sustainable lifestyle isn’t helping you feel positive about your decision to continue to pursue this change.

Many consumers—especially millennials—recognize that becoming sustainable in their fashion choices is important. This growing trend in consumer behavior has been attributed to consumers becoming more aware of the negative outcomes of the fashion industry—thanks to the work of organizations like Fashion Revolution.

Furthermore, consumers are beginning to recogniZe that they wield greater power than before in their purchasing decisions and are “disrupting the traditional path to purchase,” according to Deloitte.

This power has elevated the importance of consumer values, like caring about the environment or workers’ rights, and now brands must prove that they share the same values as consumers in order to convince the consumer to buy with them. However, according to BCG only “a tiny proportion of all consumers are willing to pay more for a sustainable product.” A recurring issue for many consumers about buying clothes from sustainable fashion brands is the high price point. It has been argued that you save money by buying sustainable fashion, because you’re buying more strategically and avoiding making impulse purchases from fast fashion brands. However, this notion cannot always seem convincing or obvious when faced with a price tag that is double your normal budget for one item of clothing.

Still, there is an easy way for you to become sustainable in your fashion choices: buy second hand.

For some, the idea of buying clothes second hand may be plagued with thoughts of the process being time consuming and unreliable, or the clothes simply being unfashionable. Yet buying second hand can be cheaper, more fun—and plus, you’re more likely to find clothes that are more unique. The main issue about buying second hand is the fact it is often perceived as time-consuming, and this is a big turnoff for consumers who are more time-conscious than ever before. However, I implore you to banish the negative perceptions of buying second hand, and focus on the facts: second hand shopping can occur online, on a reliable platform and can be curated with style. The platform that embodies these virtues is Depop.

But what is Depop? Depop is a peer-to-peer shopping app where you can buy second hand fashion at a fixed or negotiated price. Once you’ve made your purchase or sale, you then rate and review the seller or buyer. Your ratings and reviews are visible on your profile and your profile also displays who you are following and your followers. In a nutshell, it’s eBay meets Instagram. The basic concept of Depop is not a new one per se, its quick and easy selling process and Instagram-esque format is unique. With features like the option to post video and use effective filtered search, the app removes so many of the barriers typically associated with buying second hand fashion that exist for many of Depop’s competitors.

To me, the most distinguishing factor about Depop is its ability to create a sense of community. I have been a buyer and seller on Depop since September 2017. Not once in that space of time have I had an experience that was anything less than pleasant, easy or trustworthy with another user. Unlike, experiences on other platforms where I’ve never been sent the item I purchased or felt obligated to price items low to start with to increase buyer engagement, I’ve never had these problems on Depop. Additionally, on Depop it’s so easy to talk to sellers or buyers because of the layout of the app, whereas on other platforms conversations are sent via e-mail or there is no option to even have discussions with buyers or sellers. On Depop, a sense of community exists, and while probably partly due to the potent feedback system, more so, Depop has discouraged the faceless seller and buyer relationship.

Instead it has built its foundation upon the power of finding your personal style, sharing that passion for fashion, and fundamentally, finding clothes that you will love—not just wear.

Over the past few months on Depop, my wardrobe has now gained a corduroy military style jacket, a floral shirt, a patterned jumper, and the pièce de résistance—a beautiful, deep blue, velvet vintage jacket. These items may be second hand, but they don’t feel it. They feel like new friends I’m just getting to know, and I’m excited about the future experiences we’ll share and the memories we’ll make together. This is how your relationship with your clothes should be.

Thank you for the introduction, Depop.

Photograph by Natalie Drenth