Graphic communication junior Emma Norland quit her job at a smoothie shop and now sells clothes full-time on Depop to pay her rent.
Welcome to the world of online clothing resale.
Depop is a United Kingdom-based social shopping app that allows users from all over the world to buy and sell clothing. The virtual thrift shop has gained traction and popularity during the past few years, attracting millions of users. Its layout is similar to photo grids seen on Instagram, which creates an easy buying and selling process. It is just one of many clothing resale apps available.
Thrift enthusiast Norland and her friend civil engineering junior Sarah Raykhman run the joint account @sarahlol on Depop, where they have attracted more than 8,000 followers.
The profits Norland and Raykhman make are enough to serve as their only source of income. The items they sell are either from their personal wardrobe, or things they pick up at thrift stores with the intent to re-sell them.
To use Depop, a seller simply snaps a photo of the item they wish to sell. The seller then uploads the photo, along with the item’s details, price and shipping preferences.
According to Norland, the quality and composition of a photo play a large role in whether or not an item will sell quickly.
“If we have access to a photography studio on campus, we use it,” Norland said. “If not, we put up a sheet and take the pictures in front of it.”
Many of Depop’s users prefer the app to shopping in stores. It can help them find more unusual pieces while supporting sustainable fashion.
“You can find things that you wouldn’t otherwise find at big retail stores like Urban Outfitters,” biomedical engineering junior Maria Shehadeh said. “And it’s also more sustainable because the clothes are getting more wear.”
Fast fashion is exemplified by large clothing retailers who produce massive amounts of clothing and use unethical practices in order to sell their clothing for low prices, according to NPR. Fast fashion chains like Forever 21 and Zara also often take designs from other brands and create copycat clothing, according to Business Insider.
Sustainable fashion, conversely, is defined as clothing that is durable, responsibly made, or second-hand. According to Cornell Research, more than 14 million tons of textile waste end up in landfills every year. By purchasing clothing that fits the description of sustainable fashion, consumers help the planet by resisting the contribution fast fashion makes to that waste.
Before Depop and similar online platforms, purchasing and donating used clothing was only possible at physical thrift stores. Now, students can easily run their own virtual shop from home and help the environment in the process.