EcoWatch Illustration by Devon Gailey
We don’t consume clothing the way we did just a few decades ago. Since the rise of fast fashion, the industry produces more than 90 million metric tons of waste each year and consumes nearly 80 trillion metric tons of water. With quick, clever marketing and social media constantly selling the latest trends, it’s hard to resist the urge to update your wardrobe.
But you don’t need to toss out last year’s tie-dye sweatsuits and buy flared pants that’ll be out of date by next year. While you should still be mindful about how much clothing you buy and toss (even if you are donating or recycling it), buying secondhand is a more sustainable option.
With the pandemic still ongoing, it’s not always feasible to go to a thrift store. Plus, if you’re searching for specific pieces, you could spend hours looking in stores and just end up with things you didn’t actually budget for. Enter secondhand clothing apps, which make thrifting more convenient than ever. Shipping emissions can be concerning, but many apps also offer location filters and even pick-up options to reduce your carbon footprint.
If you’re planning to refresh your closet, find trendy, timeless, vintage, and even luxury goods on these six top apps for secondhand clothing.
ThredUp is an online consignment shop that allows people to buy or sell new and used clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories. There are over 35,000 brands, including some designer options, on ThredUp, and the app has adult, kid and maternity clothing.
What makes this app unique is that if you want to sell items, you don’t have to list items yourself. Instead, you order a “Clean Out Kit” and pack it with your items. Then you ship everything with a prepaid label from ThredUp. The company sells your items and pays the money out to you.
The pros of ThredUp:
- There are thousands of items to look through.
- You can filter by location to reduce emissions as much as possible.
- ThredUp photographs and lists your items for sale, saving you the time.
- ThredUp has flat-rate shipping or free-shipping if you spend more than $79.
The cons of ThredUP:
- ThredUP will take 20% to 90% of the amount your items sell for.
- ThredUP may reject items you want to sell, and you have to pay a fee to have them shipped back to you. (Alternatively, you can opt to have them recycled.)
- Prices on the app are final; some apps allow you to barter or bundle to save, but this isn’t the case on ThredUP.
Poshmark is one of the most popular thrifting apps, with at least one item sold every second in the U.S. The app offers clothing for adults and children, plus even home goods and items for pets.
This app offers free authentication for luxury goods, and it prohibits price-gouging, so you can trust that you’re getting a fair deal. Buyers can elect to work with stylists to build out full outfits, plus Poshmark offers quick, priority shipping. Sellers can upload their items within minutes, set their own prices, and negotiate with buyers to build relationships.
The pros of Poshmark:
- Sellers can set their own prices.
- Sellers can easily promote their items by sharing via social media.
- Poshmark has a tight-knit community, so you can communicate with other users through the app for advice, styling tips, and more.
The cons of Poshmark:
- Poshmark charges commission fees of $2.95 for items under $15 or 20% of items priced over $15.
- Sellers are responsible for photographing, listing, and shipping their items.
- For buyers, shipping fees can be high.
Vinted is a secondhand clothing app with service across Europe, the U.S. and Canada. It has over 45 million users and thousands of brands and products to look through. As of 2021, the app is expanding from only selling clothing and beauty products to also include home goods.
It’s free and easy to start buying or selling on Vinted. You can find name brand items and sometimes even luxury goods on the app for steep discounts.
The pros of Vinted:
- There are no listing or commission fees, so you keep all the money you earn by selling items on this app.
- You can get discounts by bundling items from a seller.
- Buyers and sellers in the same location can arrange for pick-ups to avoid shipping emissions.
- Buyers can barter with sellers for steeper discounts.
The cons of Vinted:
- Vinted has a smaller number of users compared to some other top secondhand apps, meaning you might have a harder time finding items you want or selling items.
- Sellers need to photograph, list, sell, and ship items.
- Pick-ups are not covered with Vinted’s seller protection policy.
Depop is essentially another social media app, but with a focus on buying and selling secondhand clothing. If you’ve ever spent time on Instagram, you’ve probably seen your favorite influencers selling their items over on Depop.
The app includes unique, trendy pieces, including vintage or designer clothing, in an app that looks and feels very much like Instagram.
The pros of Depop:
- The app is available internationally.
- Sellers can run closet-wide sales.
- Buyers can bundle to save money.
- Shipping costs are based per item, so these rates are reasonably set. They can also be paid by the seller or the buyer.
The cons of Depop:
- Listings can only have up to four photos.
- Depop has a 10% commission fee.
- Sellers can only collect pay via PayPal or Stripe, both of which have additional business fees.
Many of the major secondhand clothing apps offer categories for menswear, but these sections are typically smaller than other categories. Grailed is designed specifically for buying and selling menswear, meaning buyers can find a wider selection of items in this category.
The app focuses primarily on trendy clothing and luxury items, so prices are generally higher than some of the other more general secondhand apps.
The pros of Grailed:
- Buyers can access major clothing drops from trending brands via Grailed.
- The app offers a wide variety of rare, unique, vintage, and luxury goods.
- The app has a very simple, user-friendly design with a variety of filters and recommendations to make shopping easier.
The cons of Grailed:
- Grailed’s commission fee is 9%. This is smaller than some other apps, but the items sold on this app usually go for higher prices, meaning higher fees.
- As with any site, there are scammers here, especially for luxury goods. Buyers and sellers need to do due diligence in looking into accounts they communicate with.
- All transactions are done only through PayPal.
Fashionphile is a secondhand app for luxury items, namely handbags and accessories. You won’t find clothing here, but it’s a great spot for high-end purses, belts, watches, or jewelry. The company has been around since 1999, making it a trusted app for buyers and shoppers alike.
With its focus on accessories, Fashionphile has a huge selection of popular and hard-to-find items from high-end designers.
The pros of Fashionphile:
- Fashionphile has a strict and lengthy authentication process.
- Shipping within the U.S. is free.
- If the item isn’t what you expected, returns are free and easy, an uncommon perk for luxury secondhand shops.
The cons of Fashionphile:
- Fashionphile doesn’t sell clothes, only accessories.
- The app is reported to sometimes load slowly or have glitches.
- Fashionphile’s commission fees are 15% for items over $3,000 or a steep 30% as the base fee for everything else.
Based in Los Angeles, Paige is a writer who is passionate about sustainability. Aside from writing for EcoWatch, Paige also writes for Insider, HomeAdvisor, Thrillist, EuroCheapo, Eat This, Not That!, and more. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Ohio University and holds a certificate in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She also specialized in sustainable agriculture while pursuing her undergraduate degree. When she’s not writing, Paige enjoys decorating her apartment, enjoying a cup of coffee and experimenting in the kitchen (with local, seasonal ingredients, of course!).
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