Written by Christianna Rotondi

As the most socially conscious and ethically aware generation, we are frequently looking for new and innovative ways to shop more sustainably. In recent years the fashion industry has seen an influx in environmentally friendly fashion brands promoting sustainable products with transparent production processes. This is in a bid to fulfil the needs of this generations conscious consumers. Despite the vast array of sustainable fashion brands on offer millennials are turning back to a century’s old form of sustainable shopping. Vintage is back and bigger than ever.

Born before the iPhone and social media became society’s version of the daily newspaper, Millennials experienced an era when we were not so connected to the outside world with just the swipe of a screen. It seems only normal that the younger generation crave that nostalgic feeling of simpler times. Maybe it’s being back home during lockdown, with nothing better to do than raid our parent’s old collection of vinyl’s or clearing out the loft to find old vintage Gianni Versace sweaters and oversized Burberry shirts. Whatever it is second-hand clothing has shaken off its negative connotations and opened a portal back to the 90s and early 2000s.  

Whether you are looking for high-quality designer pieces at an affordable price or a rare luxury vintage item your Instagram feed hasn’t already seen, digital selling platforms like Vestiaire Collective and Cudoni are the destination for you. These up-cycled vintage retailers are dominating the luxury fashion sector with current figures indicating the pre-loved market is worth approximately €28 billion (£24.5 billion) and set to increase a whopping 112% by 2023. But why has second-hand shopping become so popular, when not long ago it was viewed as such a taboo? 

The driving force behind the rapid growth of the luxury re-sale industry is powered by the circular economy. Consumers ever-changing buying habits and attitudes surrounding fashion and the desire to become more sustainable has shifted popularity from primary luxury retailers, to the luxury second-hand market. The pre-loved fashion sector is growing four times faster than primary luxury fashion, increasing a total of 12% per year. However, disadvantageous this seems for luxury brands, it is surprisingly overall beneficial. Pre-loved items give the younger generation a taste for luxury and exclusivity at an earlier age due to its affordable nature. Therefore, luxury retailers are viewing vintage fashion as a recruitment mechanism, installing brand awareness and building customer relationships from an age luxury has never reached before.  

With its many benefits pre-loved luxury is paving the way for a fashionable more sustainable future, second-hand is no longer second-choice and it seems society is readily endorsing the many advantages of shopping vintage, they do say what comes around goes around.