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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Selling old is the new new. An ecosystem is popping up to cash in on the secondhand obsession.

Why it matters: Secondhand goods have long been a key part of retail's future. What's new is the growing crop of online marketplaces favored by younger, self-reliant customers, as well as platforms that help brands and designers resell.

Driving the news: Rent the Runway on Wednesday announced that all of its inventory is now available for resale. After a shaky year, the company is also now reportedly preparing for an IPO.

The big picture: Social media has enabled a younger generation to dictate their own tastes.

  • Stores or brands might replenish styles a few times a year, but the secondhand market is constantly refreshed — with inventory pulled from individual closets around the world and then uploaded online.
  • Platforms like Depop (90% of users are under 26 years old) and Poshmark have also turned young shoppers into stylists who can make a bit of income, although many of the massive success stories mask the work required to build a sustainable business.
  • Over the past year, the pandemic forced millions out of a job, reshaping priorities and budgets and driving a new customer base to consider previously owned apparel.

What to watch: With the resale market expected to grow faster than the overall sector, brands are figuring out how to stay in the consumption loop.

  • Enter Trove. The company helps Levi's, Eileen Fisher and Patagonia, for example, manage the logistics of customers trading in items for resale in exchange for brand gift certificates.
  • On the other hand, companies like Lululemon are experimenting with building their own in-house resale system.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jun 2, 2021 - Economy & Business

Etsy to buy resale app Depop for $1.6 billion in cash

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Etsy agreed to buy Depop, a London-based secondhand fashion marketplace, for $1.63 billion in cash.

Why it matters: This is millennial-driven Etsy trying to get younger, as around 90% of Depop's users are under 26 years old.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jun 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

The global used-clothes market is worth $40 billion annually

Data: FactSet, press reports; Chart: Axios Visuals

The global used-clothes market is worth $40 billion per year, according to Boston Consulting Group, and is growing at more than 15% per year. Like all other retail, it's moving increasingly online.

Driving the news: Etsy announced this week that it was buying U.K.-based Depop, a fashion reseller beloved by #teens, for $1.6 billion.

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.