To find out, Imran heads to a city that has become a centre of authentication expertise. Lille used to be a manufacturing hub for French fashion. Today, its workers are re-skilling, at the headquarters of luxury online reseller, Vestiaire Collective, in order to identify knock-offs and keep the secondhand supply chain real.
Imran finds an unlikely guide in Vestiaire Collective CEO, Max Bittner, who admits that he used to be more familiar with climbing the Himalayas than with the Himalaya Birkin — the most expensive item resold so far on Vestiaire’s luxury resale platform. Yet the higher the price, the higher the risk. How to be sure that iconic pieces from the world’s most desired brands are truly the real deal?
And at the more affordable end of the resale market?
Imran returns to London and the headquarters of Depop in the city’s booming Silicon Roundabout district to hear from Maria Raga, CEO of the global peer-to-peer marketplace which was acquired by Etsy earlier this year for $1.6 billion.
Raga explains that the platform’s ability to forge lasting connections sets it apart from typical fashion e-commerce while making the buying and reselling of what already exists a fun and frictionless experience. “Depop is not just a place where you come to find an item that you want, it’s a place where you come to discover other people.”
A “Depop curator” who goes by the name of “Youth” explains that resale platforms enable new-breed creatives and entrepreneurs to build businesses and livelihoods; “One of the things that I like so much about this industry is that it’s based on independent sellers. Individuals that are in that bedroom. The new thing now, instead of doing the ‘paper round’, it’s get your clothes on Depop.”