10 Fashion Resale Platforms, Reviewed

Wondering whether fashion resale platforms are any good? With the second-hand market predicted to double in the next five years, more and more brand-owned fashion resale platforms are popping up. But are they worth buying and selling on? I decided to compare 10 of them against the second-hand sites and apps I know and love, as well as the principles of circular fashion. Here are my thoughts…

10 Fashion Resale Platforms Compared

Ok, here’s the list to get us started! You can use these links to jump to a specific brand:

Within this review, I also put my previous predictions to the test when looking at the live and planned fashion resale platforms from the following brands… I’d love to know what you think of them too!

(And if you can’t be bothered to read through each review… click here to read to my summary.)

adidas Choose To Give Back

adidas Choose To Give Back

Region: US
Take-back incentive: ???

Payment type: adidas ‘Rewards’
Rating: 4/10

In October 2021, adidas announced a new resale platform, called Choose To Give Back. Having been trialled on the adidas Creators Club app, the sneaker brand announced it would be rolling out this service, in collaboration with US-based resale platform thredUP, to more customers via its website and stores in early 2022. (Although as of writing this, it’s still not launched).

The Choose To Give Back platform is a limited take on resale, at best. While it has a sleek approach, with buying, selling, and even postage being handled all within one app, the drawback is that any items sent to be sold will be vetted by the brand first. This could potentially mean the brand will hold back nearly-new items to ensure they sell these first-hand instead. They will also keep users tied to shopping with the brand, as any sales generated on the platform will give users ‘rewards’ to be spent against new adidas products. And for unsellable items? Those will ‘go through thredUP’s select network of textile reuse partners’ instead, whatever that means.

Allbirds ReRun

Screenshot of Allbirds Rerun

Region: US
Take-back incentive: $20 store credit

Payment type: N/A
Rating: 4/10

If you read my sustainable sneakers review last year, you’ll know I’m a fan of Allbirds. They take sustainability seriously, so I was excited to hear about their new resale platform, called ReRun. The platform launched in the US last month, and provides an interesting twist on traditional resales. Customers can drop off ‘gently used’ sneakers at select retail locations, and receive $20 credit (which is a sin, but perhaps a necessary incentive). Allbirds will then ‘refurbish’ the shoe and sell it on for two thirds of the original retail price.

In my mind, this service will appeal most to customers who have shoes that don’t fit, don’t perform, or simply don’t suit them, ensuring they’re worn again rather than wasted. But will it incentivise those that want the full RRP rather than $20? Probably not. Could it also lead to Allbirds suppressing its latest styles from resales, ensuring more first-hand sales instead? It could. And with anecdotal reports that Allbirds is allegedly stopping individuals from reselling their products, it seems Allbirds is looking to squeeze value out of this process rather than prioritise circularity and waste elimination.

It’s worth noting that Allbirds also say that shoes ‘with heavier wear are donated to Soles4Souls, a charity that provides shoes to those in need. Yet this means only low quality items will be donated – so how is this a good thing?

Finally, when compared to existing fashion resale platforms from footwear retailers, such as VivoBarefoot’s Revivo, which accepts shoes in any condition, and has provided refurbishing since 2020, and Allbirds appears to be on the back foot.

COS Re-Sell

Screenshot of COS Re-Sell

Region: UK, Germany
Take-back incentive: N/A

Payment type: Cash (minus 10% commission)
Rating: 6/10

In September 2020, high-street brand COS (a sub-brand of fast fashion conglomerate H&M) launched a digital resales platform called Re-sell. Their aim? To position themselves as a brand promoting circular and renewable solutions. But, as H&M’s sub-brand ARKET has similarly proved, providing one small sustainable solution alongside a business model predicated on fast fashion doesn’t make much of a difference…

When reviewing the COS Re-Sell platform as a standalone operation, I have to say it’s actually very well done. Powered by Reflaunt, the platform feels like a hybrid of COS and Depop, inviting sellers to upload photos and details of their items to a very minimalist site. Impressively, it charges a competitive 10% fee when items sell, and provides sellers with payment in their currency, rather than a rewards scheme or store credit.

The real downfall of Re-Sell is that COS items simply don’t look good when photographed flat. They look drab, baggy, uninviting. I’m not sure why H&M chose COS as the brand to test a resale platform with, but the style of their clothing really does put me off from purchasing. If they did this with & Other Stories, there may be at least some kind of excitement (although often I find their shoes and clothing don’t fit very well, so there’s that to consider). It also leaves sellers responsible for disposing of unwanted items that will sit and sit and sit on the site, which isn’t great.

Overall, as far as brand-owned fashion resale platforms go, this is the best I’ve seen yet. It’s just a shame that it won’t make a dent in H&M’s fast fashion machine.

Eileen Fisher Renew

Screenshot of Eileen Fisher Renew

Region: US
Take-back incentive: $5 store credit

Payment type: N/A
Rating: 7/10

When it comes to brand-owned fashion resale platforms, Eileen Fisher is the one to look up to. The Eileen Fisher Renew collection launched in 2009, beginning as a “grassroots effort to collect employees’ used garments, resell them to customers, and donate the proceeds to Eileen Fisher’s charity foundation.” Today, the brand has two standalone Renew stores in the US, as well as their online store, which is home to more than 20,000 second-hand garments. (It’s worth noting that the charitable element has been reduced to garment donations due to the pandemic).

Having grown from a small internal initiative to the powerhouse it is today, Renew reflects the potential good that brand-owned fashion resale platforms can do. For starters, their take-back scheme is open to all Eileen Fisher garments, in any condition. For each item returned, customers receive a $5 gift card, and to date they have taken back over 1.6 million garments. From there, good quality items (in an excellent condition, free of holes, stains and flaws) are professionally laundered in a closed-loop cleaning system and sold in-store and online. Lesser quality items (around 25% of all items returned) are recycled, with some being used in Eileen Fisher’s Waste No More homewares.

In writing this, I did struggle to find out the additional textile recycling that goes on at Eileen Fisher Renew – but I’ve enquired, and will update this if/when I receive a response.

Drawbacks to shopping on Renew include being unable to return items bought online to stores, and gift cards are not yet accepted, but that appears to soon be updated. Once gift cards apply, I really do think this is an example of true circularity, and one that drives additional returns for the brand too.

FARFETCH Second Life

Screenshot of Farfetch Second Life

Regions: Europe, US, UK, Middle East
Take-back incentive: N/A

Payment type: FARFETCH credit
Rating: 4/10

As the first of the luxury fashion resale platforms in this list, FARFETCH Second Life is a middling example. Second Life builds on FARFETCH’s pre-owned collection*, and operates like a luxury consignment service, with sellers sending details of their items to be evaluated, estimated, and then subsequently listed on the site.

FARFETCH has started off safe, only offering bags from a limited list of 28 luxury brands, and sellers can expect to receive ‘between 30 – 60% of the original retail value’ for those bags, depending on their condition. Is it worth it? I would have said yes if you’re looking for a quick sale. Upon receiving your digital quotation, you can send your bags to FARFETCH and expect to receive credit within 10 days. But that’s the catch: you get paid in FARFETCH credit, not cash. So even if you wanted a quick sale, it would only be so that you could purchase something new from FARFETCH. That doesn’t really appeal, and it’s not true circularity either.

Plus, with platforms like Vestiaire Collective* providing similar returns, a larger user base, and payment in cash, I don’t think Second Life is a competitive offering just yet.

Gucci x The RealReal

Gucci x The RealReal

Region: US
Take-back incentive: N/A

Payment type: N/A
Rating: 2/10

Ok, let me first note that the Gucci x The RealReal partnership existed for a matter of months back in 2020. I’m including it because it’s a good demonstration of how luxury fashion is trying to enter to resale market, and, well, faltering.

Announced in October 2020, and coming to a close in December 2020, this three-month foray into second-hand sales space left Gucci looking like a brand acting on climate in a performative manner, especially with the addition of a tree planted for every sale. It costs a few pounds to plant a tree in this way, but a pair of Gucci loafers will set me back £400… You do the maths.

From the Vogue coverage of the partnership, I also got a whiff of product suppression. I would naturally assume that Gucci would have suppressed any of its SS20 collection from gliding onto The RealReal, and potentially canonise its first-hand sales. This therefore fails to achieve true circularity.

It seems that Gucci has not returned to resale since this partnership either, and so highlights the pitfalls of second-hand market for luxury fashion. It may well be easier for luxury fashion brands to look inwardly and reduce their core impact before trying this route.

Levi’s Secondhand

Screenshot of Levi's Secondhand

Region: US
Take-back incentive: $5 – $35 store credit

Payment type: N/A
Rating: 4/10

When it comes to circular fashion, Levi’s is a natural fit. Vintage Levi’s retain their value and appeal, so it’s great to see Levi’s supporting this through their Levi’s Secondhand site. Doubly-good is to see that site listed on the top-bar of their main site, encouraging first-hand shoppers to consider second-hand.

Launched in 2020, Levi’s Secondhand is now well populated with over 2,000 second-hand jeans, jackets, and more. That said, I’m a bit surprised it’s managed to get this far. It has a very hands-on, off-putting process when it comes to reselling: first, you need to book in a “trade-in” appointment at your local store. Then, you have your garments evaluated by a member of staff, who will offer you between $5 – $35 store credit for each. (That’s if it’s sellable… if not, Levi’s can ‘donate’ them for you). Then they’re uploaded to the Levi’s Secondhand site, to be sold at a profit (garments on Levi’s Secondhand range from $25 to $268 when I last checked).

To my mind, if you’re interested in re-selling a garment from Levi’s, you’ll make a better return elsewhere. Based on their transparent trade-in pricing scale, you’ll receive between $5 – $25 store credit in return for a good-as-new trucker jacket retailing at $90. And it’s even worse for premium items, which may be more sought-after in a second-hand market. For a premium item such as a mint-condition French Fringe Jacket retailing at $400, you’ll get $35, while it’ll be sold on for $239…

Overall, it feels like Levi’s is short-changing their existing customers who may want to support circularity. To be offered unreasonably low offers, as store credit rather than cash… Boo.

lululemon Like New

Screenshot of lululemon Like New

Region: US
Take-back incentive: ???

Payment type: N/A
Rating: 5/10

Activewear mega-brand lululemon launched its resale site, Like New, back in April 2021. As of today, it appears lululemon no longer offers a take-back scheme or resale platform, but with a little help from my friend Wayback Machine I was able to do a bit of digging…

Powered by Trove, the site was home to thousands of pieces of second-hand activewear sold at a percentage of their original retail value. There were three things that really stood out from the Like New platform: first, the site would show the resale cost against the regular retail price, incentivising second-hand sales from the get-go. Second, they would reinvest any profit generated from Like New would go into lululemon’s sustainability initiatives. And third, lululemon partnered with Debrand, a reverse logistics expert focusing on avoiding down-cycling (where possible), to handle their unsellable stock.

While it’s unclear why the resale platform didn’t work for lululemon, what is clear is that a brand cannot call themselves sustainable without a repair or resale offering. I truly hope something better is in the works.

Nike Refurbished

Screenshot of Nike Refurbished site

Region: US, Netherlands
Take-back incentive: ???

Payment type: N/A
Rating: 0/10

Nike so desperately wants to be synonymous with sustainable fashion. The sneaker brand has been a preying on sustainable innovators in the fashion space for years, and its new resale offering, Nike Refurbished, is no different. Launched in May 2021, Nike began offering customers the possibility to return used shoes at 15 of its stores across the US, plus two stores in Netherlands. Once in store, your shoes are inspected, deemed eligible for resale, and then sanitised and returned to those same stores’ shelves for sale at a reduced price.

It all sounds pretty dreamy – quick, easy, and localised, too. The drawback here is that Nike is only offering this service in 17 of its 1048 worldwide stores, and it’s only for its shoes, which can only be ‘like new’, ‘gently worn’, or ‘cosmetically flawed… but otherwise like new’. What about all of their clothing, as well as all of their sneakers in a lesser condition? Nike doesn’t even offer in-store recycling; US customers are told: “when you are done wearing your footwear, we encourage you to donate or responsibly recycle your kicks.”

According to Dispatches, Nike also promoted this take-back scheme in the UK, boasting to recycle trainers into Nike Grind, a recycled material with multiple uses, such as new sneakers soles and sports courts. However, when attempting to return shoes, Nike advised they did not accept them in any store in the UK, and further research showed Nike Grind is predominantly made from post-industrial waste – NOT sneakers.

Finally, it’s unclear what incentive customers have to return their shoes in the first place. Payment? Credit? Virtue signalling? Who knows. All I can say is that this is a very, very small scheme that isn’t even worth mentioning when Nike makes hundreds of millions of shoes each year.

PrettyLittleThing’s Resale App

Screenshot of PrettyLittleThing corporate site

Region: UK, US
Take-back incentive: ???

Payment type: ???
Rating: 0/10

PrettyLittleThing is a sub-brand of boohoo, both hyper fast fashion e-tailers based in the UK. In February of this year, PLT’s infamous Creative Director, Molly-Mae Hague, announced the brand’s upcoming resale app. There’s no official information out yet, other than that it will be launched in the UK first, then later in the US.

It’s interesting to note that PrettyLittleThing’s resale platform will be an app, rivalling that of peer-to-peer marketplaces like Depop and Vinted. It’s for this reason that I initially gave this platform a single point out of ten. Apps do work well for second-hand sales! I then read into it further, and found out that users will have to ‘sync up’ their PLT order history to upload details about the items they’re selling… This means it could gate-keep second-hand resale, and only encourage first-hand purchases to be sold on the app.

Hague said about the platform: “It will encourage girls to think maybe this piece is actually still in really great condition and to encourage someone else to buy it, and it is great to make a little bit of money for our girls as well.” I don’t know about you, but I wince at being called a ‘girl’. I also wince at a hyper fast fashion brand once again pretending that their clothing is not a false economy, while they continue to suck all the value out of their clothes by exploiting their workers, the planet, and their customers by selling such low-quality products. There is no value left by the time it gets to resale, period.

Yet again I just feel like PLT is spinning PR bullshit for the sake of its share price. For a more thorough review, I recommend reading Mel Watt’s review, Pretty Little Liars, and The Quirky Environmentalist’s take on the greenwashing stunt.

So, Which Fashion Resale Platforms Are Any Good?

Honestly? If you’re looking to sell through any of these platforms, it’s not yet worth it. Second-hand sites and apps are still leagues ahead, and offer much more in the way of large customer bases, cash payments, and true circularity.

On the flip-side, I do feel incentivised to bookmark COS Re-Sell and Farfetch Second Life to shop from in the future. For niche items, such as a specific COS garment, or a luxury handbag, these may well offer better items that are easier to find than on larger marketplaces. It’s just a shame they don’t have the seller appeal to go with that.

Finally, it’s still unclear what happens with many of the shoes, bags, and garments that don’t meet each brand’s resale requirements. Some will leave those items to rot with you. Some may refuse them. And some may donate them to charities to dump. As ever, we need more transparency, and better textile recycling systems globally.


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