After last week’s introduction, let’s get serious: welcome to the first article of my conscious shopping guide! And as a start, I decided to explore second hand shopping, which I believe is a very good place to begin consuming more responsibly. Today, I’ll tell you more about one of my personal favorites – Vestiaire Collective.
Second hand is more than looking for cheap jean shorts in a smelly vintage store; to me, it became like a secret door that gives me access to a whole world that I can’t afford being a part of – the world of luxury – and which I end up infiltrating with enough distance to play it by my own rules.
Pre-owned fashion shopping unfortunately isn’t all perfect, as you’ll come across quantities of clothes and accessories produced by brands who don’t respect certain basic ecological or human/social principles (yep, even high fashion!). That being said, second hand is a sort of parallel network that presents one huge advantage: it gives a second life to items that would otherwise be forgotten, cluttering someone else’s shelves or even worse – thrown away. In other words, instead of always consuming more new stuff, you get the opportunity to recycle used items, thus avoiding to create even more ‘matter’.
It’s when I realised I could take advantage of the impulsive purchases made by women who make 4 times what I earn that I became addicted to Vestiaire Collective, which is to me the best website of its genre.
One of my greatest finds was this Filippa K bomber jacket, such a great investment! I’ve worn it at least once a week since I got it (that would be about two years ago), all year long, day or night. It’s versatile, the slightly grey khaki colour makes it street and elegant at the same time, and the gold details differentiate it from all the other ones.
What I like about Vestiaire Collective:
- the website is beautiful and pleasant to navigate. The categories and filters are clear, easy to use whether you’re looking for something or “just browsing”. It’s pretty, it’s appealing, and you don’t feel like you’re at a yard sale.
- the possibility to set up alerts to be notified when a specific item you’re looking for suddenly appears in your size. For those who know exactly what they’re looking for and are willing to be patient, but are also aware that when it happens, you have to seize the moment.
- the system of offers, which allows you to negotiate a bit with the seller.
- how easy it is to put an item for sale. It’s done in 10 minutes, everything is clear and well-anticipated.
- the reliability: every item sold on the site will be scrupulously controlled by a team of experts at Vestiaire when it transits between the seller and the buyer. No counterfeit, no hidden damages, no surprises, only transparency.
- there’s a mens section! 🎉
What sometimes makes me go like ‘ugh’:
- the commission that Vestiaire takes varies, but in general, roughly 30% of the selling price will be collected by the site. It’s a lot, and it’s annoying for the seller and the buyer, but honestly, they’re making it worth it. Vestiaire takes care of everything and makes the exchange as flawless as possible. Plus, that’s how every concierge service works, and at least, they’re doing it right.
- the 15 euros shipping. Seriously. If I pay a 30% commission, maybe you can include shipping in the price. Please?
- the unreliable sellers (they are everywhere)! It happened to me enough to make it worth mentioning, and it’s a little bit discouraging. Here’s how it goes: I hesitate for a few weeks, maybe a month, I compare, I reflect, I save, I come back, and finally, one day, I click ‘buy’, enter my credit card details, get a bit hysterical, and then… the day after, I get an e-mail from Vestiaire, informing me that the item actually wasn’t for sale anymore. Quite irritating, isn’t it? But yeah, people suck – what’s new. Luckily, I believe in destiny, which helps a lot when I try to convince myself that it’s a positive thing and that everything happens for a reason.
So what did we learn today? That I’m a big fan of Vestiaire Collective, because it’s a site that enables me to acquire beautiful pieces that I otherwise couldn’t afford, while consuming in a conscious and sustainable way. As you can see, that equation generates zero frustration which, when you talk about alternative fashion choices, is kind of a big deal and really makes a huge difference in the perception we may have.
My advice: next time you get an Asos-shopping-seizure, substitute Vestiaire for it! It works the same but feels even better, and you get extra karma points.
Need inspiration? On Vestiaire Collective, you can find these, for example: