Aussie sustainable fashion retailer releases first Fashion Resale Report

Karen Freidin Chief Executive Officer of Reluv Clothing

As the fashion resale market grows worldwide, Australia looks to be following the trend, with the concept of circular fashion continuing to gain traction nationwide. Delving into the environmental impacts of the fashion industry, our Reluv-first, Fashion Resale Report analyses the rise of sustainable and circular fashion in Australia, backed by research.

Responsible for $527.5 million in revenue from clothing resale, Australia’s well established charity sector spans over 3000 op shop stores across the nation’s capital cities.

What were the key findings of the Reluv Survey?

A Reluv survey found op shops to be the number one option for purchasing preloved clothing, concluding that 52.6% of respondents purchased from them. Although Aussie’s exponentially growing fashion resale market now expands well beyond just op shop and charity stores.

Aussies have more options to shop sustainably than ever before, with approximately 13 Australian-owned online-only resale sites, and 100 independently owned brick-and-mortar second hand clothing stores (traditional physical stores) operating across the country. Two thirds of brick-and-mortar second hand stores also offer online shopping platforms.

Indicating strong support for the fashion resale market amongst Australians, our July 2021 Reluv poll found that an impressive 72% of Australians had purchased at least one item of secondhand clothing in the 12 months prior. Attitudes amongst more and more shoppers are shifting, with 53% of Australian shoppers now willing to spend more for sustainable products.

38% of consumers reported that they have actively changed their shopping habits to prioritise sustainable brands. Traditional retailers have joined the resale trend too. E-commerce platform; The Iconic, and Australian department store; David Jones, have both recently partnered with independent platforms to offer resale and rental options to clients.

This drives circular business models and product stewardship, where retailers are responsible for minimising the environmental impact of a product throughout the duration of its life cycle.

What is the growth rate of the clothing industry?

According to fashion platform, Fashion For Good, Fashion resale grew 21 times faster than traditional retail between 2017 and 2019 – and secondhand clothing retail is expected to be twice the size of the fast fashion industry by 2030, according to US resale giant, Thredup.

However, despite these positive steps, high wastage and under-utilisation of garments continue to be a challenge for the industry. In fact, the amount of clothing produced doubled in size from 2002 to 2017, and a recent YouGov survey found that 24% of Australian adults had thrown away an item of clothing after wearing it just once in the past year.

Overproduction and excessive consumption patterns look to be the main drivers of high wastage – a trend that has been attributed to the global growth of the middle class.

The normalisation of purchasing preloved clothing, coupled with the growth of resale platforms available across Australia will hopefully contribute to a more circular fashion industry and a more conscious approach to clothing consumption.

“Growing environmental awareness, as well as vintage and thrifting trends, are all helping to fast track a circular fashion model.” Karen Freidin – Reluv Clothing CEO