Out of all of the top creators on Depop, some of whom make six figures curating, designing and selling clothing on the platform, you have probably never heard of 99 per cent of them. And that might be generous.
Yet these young creative individuals will broaden, evolve, redefine, democratise and genuinely transform what we value in fashion forever.
Most importantly, they’re having a lot of fun doing it.
Depop is a marketplace and creative platform where people can meet, connect with and shop from one another. We started as an app, but now manage physical stores and pop-up experiences across the UK and America. We have more than 13 million users and 90 per cent are under 26, which means a lot of them are part of Generation Z.
Depop sellers are often ahead of trend, eschew labels and love flaunting their unique perspectives
By 2020, Gen Z – generally defined as those born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s – will be the largest group of consumers, commanding up to $143 billion in spending power as they enter the workforce. They live, work and shop in profoundly different ways to the generations before them.
Our mantra is “Empower young people to transform fashion” and that’s truly what we intend to do. Empower how, you ask? By galvanising our young creators to tackle these three big components, which the fashion industry is largely missing out on: authentic community, celebration of entrepreneurship and a drive towards sustainability.
The top 1 per cent of the fashion industry has forever called the shots. The brands, trends and models that executives want you to consider have been placed front and centre. This has happened at the expense of greater diversity and choice.
Not anymore. Supreme is valued at $1 billion, Gucci is emblazoning New York Yankees logos on everything alongside Dapper Dan and brands like Heron Preston and 1017 Alyx 9SM are fixtures of Paris Fashion Week. It seems like the kids have taken over.
Yet influence still almost always trickles from the top down. Depop utilises the power of a globally-connected world to change that. If we’ve learnt anything from how the internet has transformed other industries, we’ve learnt that old top-down power structures are not long for this world. As we grow our community, we make it a point to help the many perspectives within it prosper.
Depop sellers are often ahead of trend, eschew labels and love flaunting their unique perspectives. Take Internet Girl (pictured), for example. The Canadian national started flipping vintage pieces on Depop a few years ago and has built an audience of more than half a million followers ever since. Her aesthetic, heavy on 1990s “mall rat” style, has developed a rabid following of young creatives who are heavy on irony and nostalgia.
Internet Girl engages with this community constantly, both through Depop and the YouTube content she creates weekly. She has earned enough to move to Los Angeles and start her own brand, at the same time as continuing to offer uniquely selected vintage pieces to her audience.
When news broke that Rihanna’s Fenty-LVMH deal was really happening, the world rejoiced to see a woman of colour at the helm of a major luxury label. It’s indeed a historic moment, yet the conglomerate’s first new maison since 1987 is still an example of the industry placing a bet on someone who is not an up-and-comer, but already has huge celebrity.
In many ways, the same is true of Louis Vuitton hiring Virgil Abloh, who spearheaded Off-White with Instagram-friendly branding, a significant network of cool-kid collaborators and DJ gigs all over the world to grow. These two represent a huge stride forward for the luxury industry, yet bootstrap entrepreneurs they are not.
Depop caters to the many kinds of young entrepreneurs who are transforming fashion on their own terms. Our platform makes it easy to be found and to build an audience. We help our sellers build businesses with dedicated advice and support, data and analytics, mentoring and workshops.
We’re an open, inclusive place – and success is meritocratic and built on relationships. 200 million messages were exchanged on Depop in 2018 alone, and many of those led not only to new friendships and IRL interactions, but also to lucrative collaborations and partnerships between sellers. This community translates into the real world with events in our NYC and LA retail spaces, which rotate programming on a monthly basis to highlight those who go above and beyond to build their own personal brands on Depop and to help expose their work to broader audiences. We like to say that Depop can help you build an empire from your bedroom, and our top sellers are doing exactly that.
The fashion industry knows it has a sustainability problem. Creating clothing at scale, over and over again, is bad for the planet and it’s not want people want. A worrying 2019 report from the World Resources Institute found that around one rubbish truck of clothes is burnt or sent to landfills every second and the average consumer bought 60 per cent more clothes in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment for half as long.
If millennials have blazed the trail towards a more sustainable world, then Gen Z are the galvanising force that will pressure major brands around the globe to embrace environmentally friendly business strategies as must-haves. According to Nielsen, for example, almost three quarters of 15 to 20 year olds would pay more for a sustainable product.
Vintage, upcycled and resold garments make up a majority of Depop’s inventory. Simply put, very little sold on the platform is brand new. Vintage is more unique, covetable and collectible than new clothing. Plus, hand-made embellishments and the brilliant creativity of designers such as Nicole McLaughlin, with whom we just hosted an Earth Day campaign in the United States, make for compelling fashion product.
At Depop, we’re continually exploring new ways to support this new generation of talent, so they can transform fashion, build successful businesses, connect with and inspire the communities around them, and have a very good time doing it.
For more information please visit depop.com