In a world of fast fashion, how does Depop succeed?

As a result of more streamlined processes, delivery time and access to the internet, fast fashion dominates the retail industry. Encouraging disposability and one-time use of garments, fast fashion is popular for its quick turn-around time from catwalk to store.

Despite this keeping consumers happy, it comes at a price. Retailers copy looks from the runway and use extremely quick methods to get them to the store. This means they release lots of new products each day. In turn, consumers have become accustomed to rapid purchasing patterns, all to keep up with what’s fresh and in trend.

Unfortunately, this means more clothes are being cast aside than ever before. With most people turning to online shopping, returns are at an all-time high too – in the US returned goods amount to five billion pounds of landfill waste each year. It’s not just the disposability of these items that causes issues, increased quantities of packaging are needed and the number of CO2 emissions from transport are heightened.

Slowly, consumers are becoming more aware of the burden these behaviours have on the environment. Many of these eco-conscious fashion lovers are turning to second-hand clothes to get their fix.

Following in the footsteps of popular predecessors such and eBay and Vinted, Depop encourages the re-usability of garments. With over 15 million users the online fashion reseller brings vintage and environmentally friendly fashion to the forefront of the scene.

Image source: Tech Crunch

What makes Depop so unique? Primarily accessed as an app and with the majority of its users being under 25, Depop speaks to the Instagram generation. Part social media platform and part shopping app, it encourages us to reuse and recycle our clothes. People running successful accounts become a new type of influencer, showing off their own personal style and flogging old personal items or carefully curated car-boot finds.

The following and messaging element gives the app a personable feel, allowing you to feel close to your customer/buyer and creating a sense of community. The business does its best to propel this community, throwing events, pop-ups and encouraging conversation between users.

Image source: WGSN

Isabelle Szmigin, professor of marketing at Birmingham University told Wired: “Young people are increasingly connected to the circular economy and are looking for more opportunities to behave in a more sustainable way.” Not only does it help to make fashion more guilt-free, it also encourages the idea of individuality and experimentation with style, not to mention the bargain prices.

With minimal advertising, Depop primarily owes its success to word of mouth. To encourage this, they try to help their best sellers get even better. Hosting workshops to help with photos, taxes and accounts, the reselling platform supports and encourages it star profiles.

By recycling clothes that have plenty of life left in them, we are helping the environment, creating new trends and slowly forming a culture that reverses the damage of the fast fashion mentality.

Depop’s sales climbed by 85 per cent in 2018 and has recently announced expansion plans to grow in Europe and Asia.