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Menswear consumer joins the shift to thrift, says eBay

By Jackie Mallon


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Men bought vintage during lockdown like never before according to new data released by eBay. 10 pre-loved male clothing items sold every minute, prompting the online reseller to keep up with demand by launching Men’s Vintage Hub, a one-stop shop to provide for all the needs for this emerging consumer. He might not be ready to trawl estate sales, flea markets and second hand stores to find that perfect 50s collegiate sweater, but at the hub he can browse nearly 100,000 listings, and refine his search by decade.

Research commissioned by eBay revealed that 65 percent of men already wanted to shop more sustainably in 2020 and March data revealed that 1 in 10 men in the UK resolved to buy more second-hand clothes. But the latest data demonstrated that lockdown had supercharged this determination. By June, sales of men’s vintage clothing jumped 22 percent.

“Lockdown ultimately sped up the transition to a greater sustainability-conscious society, but it is interesting to see the trend growing in particular amongst men,” said Emma Grant, Head of Preloved at eBay. “With less need for workwear, such as suits and ties, they have been using lockdown to help them kick the habit of buying new, and help out both their wallets and the planet.”

Top-selling pre-loved menswear brands on eBay

ebay UK provided FashionUnited with an up-to-the-minute list of its top-selling mid-tier brands. Nike leads the way followed by Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, H&M, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, Laura Ashley, North Face and Levis. The average selling price for Nike is 42 dollars, H&M 9 dollars and Levi’s 20 dollars.

Its top 10 luxury brands are as follows: Gucci, Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Moncler, Christian Dior, and Balenciaga. The average selling price for Gucci is 136 dollars, Louis Vuitton 302 dollars, and Moncler 128 dollars.

Menswear an important growth area in the resale market

News that men have gotten in on the second-hand and vintage action isn’t surprising, considering how the resale sector has swelled in general. Last year, ThredUp and analytics firm GlobalData conducted a joint survey and found that the resale market has grown 21 times faster than apparel retail over the last three years. Men, although slower to see the positives of pre-owned fashion than women, were eventually going to come onboard. Within 10 years resale is projected to be 50 percent larger than the fast fashion sector.

NYC-based men’s resale platform Grailed, launched in 2015, has 3.2 million registered users, all of whom are seeking the grail, that dream menswear find, whether it be a piece of fine Italian tailoring or that rare Raf Simons bomber jacket from 2001 which sold last year on the site for a record 47,000 dollars. Vintage menswear has become a serious business for casual cool hunters scrolling through eBay or committed collectors with exclusive international contacts the names of which are spoken in hushed tones.

Perhaps it’s a rejection of cookie-cutter fast fashion or is propelled by millennials’ love of authenticity, but vintage now checks multiple boxes for the contemporary consumer. Pandemic fears do not appear to have caused a resurfacing of any of the old negative connotations around wearing someone else’s castoffs. Brands like award-winning NYC- based Bode which uses vintage fabrics and deadstock, even quilts and curtains, to create casual lived-in menswear staples have helped solidify the idea that vintage is desirable for men.

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

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