It’s clear to even the hardiest of shopaholics that attitudes to how we consume fashion have been flipped on their head in recent times. Rewind barely five years and for many second hand clothes carried the hard to shift whiff of the charity shop bargain bin. Not party conversation. Fast forward to 2022, when to joke about wearing second hand would be like conversational tumbleweed. Second hand IS now the party. Industry insiders now predict preloved shopping will overtake both the fast fashion and the luxury markets within the next eight years. No more questions.
It’s been a crazily fast turnaround, fuelled by the urgent need for change in our attitudes to sustainability that’s leaving a lot of us struggling to catch up. For the gen z generation, second hand shopping is frankly cooler: zero negative connotations; unique items; affordable prices; ethical. For the non gen z’s though we need a bit of encouragement to move to pre loved: enter well designed websites, ‘luxury’ online shopping experiences, easy selling of our own preloved pieces in return for store credits, and personalised services. Essentially the sweeteners we need to deal the knockout blow to any last preconceptions.
Here’s my curated edit of twenty online preloved brands and stores, (yes there are many more!) whether you prefer authentic vintage, high street, insta friendly, high end preloved luxury or something in between. And nope, there’s not a bargain bin in sight.
BEST FOR: EVENT DRESSING
Launched in 2019 as the uk’s first fashion rental online marketplace renting and selling contemporary luxury brands. Rent an item, love it and choose to pay the difference to keep it. Plus they now do bridal and kids wear. What’s not to love .
BEST FOR: LUXURY BRANDS AND PERSONALISATION
Launched last year by former fashion designer style swap is a instagram inspired platform designed to make shopping preloved luxury fashion easy, using AI and a quiz to create your own personalised page.
BEST FOR: INSTA FRIENDLY DESIGNERS
Launched in 2010 from a West Sussex Store, selling personally edited stock of mid luxury favourites like Bella Freud and Isabel Marant up to big hitters Gucci and Chanel. Owners Darcy and Amy have recently swapped the store for a showroom and a big online presence.
BEST FOR: DONATING TO CHARITY
Thrift+ promotes an online ‘charity shop style’ experience. Every seller nominates a charity to which part of the cost of the item is donated, and there are ever growing brand partnerships with brands like Asos, Browns and Farfetch that reward donations with store credits.
BEST FOR MID LEVEL LUXE
Nina Leibenfrost founded The Collabory to satisfy the gap in the preloved market for ‘affordable luxury’ brands. It’s easy to sell- just send your clothes and they do the rest. The Collabory are now partnering with Olio, to create a route to share on unsold clothes.
BEST FOR SECOND TIME AROUND FINDS
Leading the way for fashion retailers, Cos resell is accessed through the main site, that sellers can upload to, set a price and manage ourselves. A great, simple way to shop more sustainably ( and budget consciously) if you love a brand.
BEST FOR: EASY WARDROBE EDITING
Vinted started as a house moving clothes sale resale start up, and now has a community of 37 million worldwide. Simple and unpretentious with mainly high street and mid range clothing: upload your images, and set your price, with zero selling fees and a refund policy. It’s win win.
BEST FOR: SELECT LUXURY ACCESSORIES
Launched in 2020 with the idea of creating a long term brand resale platform, the online range is currently primarily bags and accessories with a plan to expand. Selfridges is also home to the peer to peer clothing rental platform Hurr, dubbed ‘the air bnb of fashion’.
BEST FOR: KIDSWEAR
‘Family to family marketplace’ Dotte is platform where parents can buy, sell, donate and recycle outgrown kids clothes, plus it partners with brands who are passionate about becoming more circular. (If you sell from a Dotte partner you will earn money off new pieces.)
BEST FOR: VINTAGE DESIGNER WITH A LIST CREDS
Rellik in London’s Notting Hill has been an institution for decades, selling luxury and rare vintage from Ozzie Clarke to YSL, that attract A listers and fashion insiders. Rellik recently launched online with shipping worldwide, so we can all join the in crowd.
BEST FOR: OLD SCHOOL BIDDING
The original and some would say still the best, Ebay caused a huge coup when it was named as the sponsor of this year's Love Island, elbowing out previous fast fashion brands. Yes you have to trawl but there are fashion gems to be found, often for a steal if you get your bidding right.
BEST FOR: BAG PORN
‘The preloved handbag destination’ where you can buy, swap or sell , was launched in 2014. It carefully curates its collection of one off, vintage, contemporary and classic pieces, and has an irl knightsbridge store if you dont want to browse online.
BEST FOR: CHARITY SHOP FEELGOOD
Oxfam describes browsing its online shop as ‘rummaging through your local highstreet charity shop. But online, and with 100,000 donated items, plus donated excess fashion retail stock.’ All the feel good factor but way less time consuming.
BEST FOR: CURATED MENS TROPHY JACKETS
Niche, but cool: three Californian expats in London who scour vintage markets and wardrobes across the globe for their carefully curated selection of jackets. Plus for each purchase a tree is planted to help climate change.
BEST FOR: A MINIMAL AESTHETIC
Here to prove the doubters that vintage can’t be minimal, Atijo mixes curated designer preloved and vintage with artisan jewellery and homeware. It was founded by 4 london based stylists in 2019 with the aim of bringing a more curated luxury experience to vintage shopping.
BEST FOR: BEING INSPIRED BY YOUR PEERS
Created by a magazine founder, Depop has become a global marketplace where you can see what those you are inspired by are liking, buying and selling, with the option of creating your own insta style ‘shop’. Not just for teens, depop is best for contemporary and quirky vintage.
BEST FOR: SMALL INDEPENDENT VINTAGE BOUTIQUES
Accessed inconspicuously through the main site, Asos marketplace is more than worth a look: . over 1000 independent boutiques, 400 of them vintage, selling niche fabulousness from repurposed Louis Vuitton Padlock necklaces to Authentic mid century vintage.
BEST FOR: A HUGE CHOICE OF LUXURY GOODS
Farfetch has big plans within the luxury preowned division. Its current preloved selection covers a massive selection of bags, watches and ready to wear from brands like Christian Dior to Rolex and it plans to feature more preloved than new product by 2030.
BEST FOR: CELEB ENDORSED PREMIUM VINTAGE
The Archive’s founder was behind the original vintage department in Topshop from the nineties and naughties, one of my first serious influences in vintage. The site is treasure trove of pieces that have featured editorially from Vogue to ID and been worn by countless celebrities.
BEST FOR: ARCHIVE PIECES FROM CULT STORES
Founded by ex vogue fashion editor and slow fashion advocate Clare Richardson, the site sells preloved pieces from 'the closets of the worlds most stylish women'. as well archive pieces from cult brands.
Thank you for reading! A version of this article first appeared in Frank Magazine last year.
Please do like and comment if you have other great online preloved places to shop- my list is ever growing!