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Amidst the global campaign Fashion Revolution Week, Paris-based resale fashion online platform Vestiaire Collective announced today that it has landed US$64 million in new funding. The latest injection of capital was financed by both existing shareholders and new investors including Korean tech company Naver-backed Korelya Capital and specialist female-led consumer fund Vaultier. Vestiaire Collective says that they will use the funds to expand its business in the Asian market, namely in Japan and Korea.
Despite a period of unprecedented economic uncertainty due to Covid-19, it appears that investor appetite for sustainable fashion has remained strong. Vestiaire Collective, a French resale fashion platform with operations across London, Hong Kong, New York, Milan and Berlin, recently closed a US$64 million funding round to prepare its Asia expansion.
Investors include existing shareholders French private equity firms Eurazeo and Vitruvian Partners, and global media group Conde Nast. The round also drew in a number of new investors, including Korelya Capital, which is backed by Korean tech group Naver, funds managed under Fidelity International, and female-led consumer fund Vaultier7.
The injection of capital will be used to expand its business into Asia, especially the Japanese and Korean resale fashion markets, as well as the launch of Direct Shipping services in the United States, the company said.
Since its launch in 2009, Vestiaire Collective’s online marketplace has attracted over 9 million users across 90 countries. Its growth has been particularly marked in recent years as more consumers become aware of the massive waste, carbon and pollution footprint of the fashion industry. By opting for preloved goods, garments and accessories can be kept in circulation to lengthen the lifespan of these products, diverting them from landfills.
Other secondhand platforms have also taken off, such as preloved handbag retailer Rebag, which recently incorporated rental into its circular business model. Mainstream labels have too joined into the trend, such as Gap, Zalora and fast fashion giant H&M and its sister brand COS.
According to consignment company thredUP’s 2019 report, the global resale fashion sector is set to reach US$51 billion within the next 5 years – representing an overtaking of the mainstream fashion market.
Vestiaire Collective’s CEO said that he now expects even more consumers to reduce their fashion consumption and opt for sustainable fashion choices, as environmental concerns prompted by the pandemic will drive further reflection and consciousness about the impact of individual shopping habits.
“I am personally convinced that this unprecedented period of disruption will not only challenge where we shop but how we shop,” explained Max Bittner, CEO of Vestiaire Collective, adding that “Vestiaire Collective was built during the 2008 crisis, and proves today how it can help people in their daily life to make the most out of their belongings, but also to access fashion in a sustainable and conscious way.”
Paul Degueuse, the general partner of Korelya Capital, agreed with Bittner’s comments. “As we all take a step back and contemplate the way we live, we believe consumption patterns are on the verge of a deep structural evolution, and C2C [consumer-to-consumer] platforms have a strong role to play here,” Degueuse said in a statement.
Similar remarks were recently made by top fashion trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, who said that the coronavirus is now causing a “quarantine of consumption” that will help bring about a better system for the environment and people. It followed her predictions at the beginning of this year that the fashion and design industry will undergo a major transformation towards “ecology” due to climate change, and that consumers will wake up to the fact that overconsumption is destroying the planet.
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Lead image courtesy of Vestiaire Collective.