If you’ve ever met me, I was most likely wearing my cherry-red leather blazer. That jacket is my baby, my pride and joy, and when the time comes, I do plan on being buried in it. It is even more likely that if you’ve ever complimented that jacket, the first words out of my mouth were “Depop, twenty quid!” Anyone familiar with the art of sourcing second hand leather will understand that this is an increasingly rare find and will therefore forgive my boasting.
There’s no better feeling than sorting through the endless racks at the local charity shop just to find that one special piece that feels like it was made just for you. It’s even better knowing that your purchase won’t have the same implications on your carbon footprint or your bank account as buying it new. It’s the reason why so many people have started to turn towards second-hand retailers and away from the usual fast fashion sites when shopping. Its hard to ignore the information that has come to light over the past few years – fast fashion has a direct impact not just on our planet but also on the people making our clothes. Even Love Island, a show widely known as a main supporter of all things Pretty Little Thing has sought to be more sustainable this year by partnering up with eBay as the show’s first ever preloved fashion ambassador. However, as the interest in shopping second-hand has increased, so too have the prices.
The infamous ‘Depop girlies’ are no stranger to charging eyewatering amounts for their goods. Look no further than the ‘Depop Drama’ page on Instagram for the evidence. My failed attempts at selling my clothes have left me with a limited knowledge of the app, so I turned to my friend Julie for some insight. A Depop veteran best known for sourcing the aforementioned red leather jacket – clearly, she knows her stuff. Julie explained that Depop take a 10% fee from whatever the seller is charging, including the postage. Meaning if you sell something for €10 on the app, they will be taking €1 off your earnings. It’s unsurprising that certain sellers feel the need to raise their prices, ensuring they can maximise their profits.
Charity shop prices have also been impacted by this newfound popularity of shopping second-hand. SIN spoke to Marcella in Enable Ireland Galway, and she says that although the increased demand does mean that prices have gone up, they have remained so that people can still manage to afford preloved items. Speaking to Marcella reminds me of something that I often forget – charity shops are about charity and every time you buy something from somewhere like Enable Ireland, your money is going directly to a good cause. SIN asked Marcella if she thinks that this is something that most people tend to forget and she agrees, it definitely is. She says however that it’s been really nice to see young people “embrace the charity shop”, becoming more mindful of the impact our purchases can have.
The increase in the price of preloved items is definitely discouraging. Its not uncommon these days to see a so-called ‘vintage’ section being featured in certain charity shops with the only discernible difference in these items being the cost. Branded clothing seems to be automatically more expensive; a disappointing development as second-hand shopping seems to be becoming increasingly inaccessible. This unfortunately only leads to people returning to fast fashion corporations to seek out more affordable options. Despite this, Marcella reckons that when shopping second hand, there is always something available for everyone, both style and cost wise. According to her “the charity shop will never go out of fashion”, and with this, I can’t help but agree.