In Conversation with Vestiaire Collective
Since its launch in 2009, Vestiaire Collective has grown from a French brand into a global powerhouse. The ultimate destination for pre-loved designer, Vestiaire has reshaped the luxury landscape for shoppers and fashion-lovers. Inspired by Positive Week to shop with purpose, we caught up with Co-Founder, Fanny Moizant, to discuss Vestiaire as an innovative company, and how it’s changed the perception of slow fashion…
Tell us about the origins of Vestiaire Collective. How much was it a response to the current climate of fast fashion?
Vestiaire started on the back of the recession back in 2009. I noticed that people were selling previous season products on their blogs, but I was concerned that there wasn’t a trusted online site that would guarantee authenticity and give a fair price for the piece depending on its condition.
What is the core mission and vision of Vestiaire Collective?
Vestiaire Collective is more than just a shopping site. It’s somewhere you can go to read interesting articles and watch videos with inspiring women, all with the added bonus of shopping from a tightly curated collection edited by our team of curators, quality control and authenticity experts.
How did you go about building this original online concept?
I searched my friends wardrobes and pulled out anything that they didn’t use that we could sell and along with the other five co-founders we launched Vestiaire Collective from our flats in Paris. That was eight years ago, we now have offices in six countries across three continents and over six-million members on the site.
You’ve built a pretty amazing community. How do you inspire people to discover Vestiaire Collective?
The site is a perfect mix of e-commerce and social networking. We focus on our community, encouraging them to interact with each other so it’s not just a ‘buy sell’ experience. We use our social media channels as inspiration platforms, and we also align ourselves with the best profiles and ambassadors who inspire their following to find out more about us.
Where do you see yourselves filling a gap in the wider market?
Traditionally good vintage shops are hard to come by unless you live in LA, London or Paris. We’ve made vintage accessible to the wider audience by having an online platform where we only include the best, most desirable pieces.
People are sometimes afraid to buy second-hand, because there are limited sizes. What tips could you offer for shopping second-hand, whatever your size?
I always encourage people to interact with each other and ask questions. Buy from brands you are familiar with and check the measurements of an item.
What does it mean to be stylish and conscious? What do you perceive the challenges to be?
It’s about the choices you make, like choosing to sell your unwanted pieces on Vestiaire instead of throwing them away. Also, invest in better quality basics which will last years instead of buying cheaper versions and replacing each season. It means spending more money on one item but in the end you’d spend more by replacing each season.
Tell us about your verification process – how do you make sure designer goods are authentic?
Once an item has sold, the seller will send the item to our Head Office in Paris, office in New York and soon to be Hong Kong. Here our Quality Control teams hand checks every item, ensuring that they meet the description set by the seller. Our Authenticity specialists then ensure that each item is authentic. In 2012 we signed the Fight Against Online Counterfeiting Charter initiated by the French government. The charter joins brands such as Chanel, Celine, Dior, Burberry, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton in order to collaborate in the fight against the sale of online counterfeits, which we are extremely passionate about.
How do you envision the second-hand market providing longer lifespans for designer products in fashion retail?
To me it’s giving good clothes a new lease of life, continuing the life of a item. I may have something in my wardrobe that I don’t wear anymore but someone the other side of the world may be desperately searching for it – it’s a global swap shop in a way!
What do people search for the most on Vestiaire? Has it changed as people’s attitudes to fashion and sustainability have evolved?
Our top brands are Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Céline. Gucci has also crept in since the arrival of Alessandro Michele, we’ve seen the resale value of Gucci pieces soar as demand is so high.
What gets you up in the morning?
Passion and excitement, i’m always excited to see what is next.
Which three items would you take with you to a desert island?
My phone, an inspiring book and my Céline sunglasses.
If you could style any iconic figure – living or dead – who would it be and why?
Sofia Coppola. I admire her strong personality and very easy, chic style.
Describe your personal shopping philosophy in three words?
Classic, chic and online.
Who’s your favourite activist and why? They could be from sustainability, tech, beyond…
At the moment I would say Marion Cotillard; she’s drawing light to feminism in film in an interesting way.
Which piece is your ultimate timeless classic?
A white shirt. You can dress up with trousers or down with jeans, it’s just the perfect timeless item.
What was your best vintage find?
I’m still hunting for it! I’m desperately looking for a vintage navy Hermes Mini Kelly. I know I’ll log onto Vestiaire one day and it’ll be there waiting for me!
Find out more about our pillar of innovation…