Sunday, June 4, 2023

Oscar de la Renta Expands Secondhand Offerings With Real Hollywood Vintage


On the heels of the launch of Encore, Oscar de la Renta’s in-house secondhand platform, the luxury label is adding vintage Hollywood dresses to the collection.

Iconic Oscar de la Renta looks from Sex and the City, Succession, and other television shows are coming to the label’s secondhand platform, Encore, which launched last November.

Oscar de la Renta’s foray into fashion resale includes authentication and restoration to deliver secondhand products on par with its retail service, the brand says.

“We think about resale as a way for us to acquire new customers and most importantly retain existing customers,” CEO Alex Bolen said in a recent interview. The company sees it “as a fundamental change in luxury fashion going from a consumable or disposable to an asset.” 

Secondhand is a booming business as consumers seek out luxury items at more affordable prices. But customers are also motivated by reducing their carbon footprint and the circularity resale items offer over making new purchases.

Secondhand luxury

According to a report published last November by The Business of Fashion, the secondhand market is worth $130 billion. Third-party platforms The RealReal and Poshmark lead the pack, but there’s a swell of peer-to-peer and white-glove secondhand services on their heels. But more and more, brands are taking control of their destinies, especially in the luxury market.

Image courtesy Oscar de la Renta

Last year, Danish luxury label Ganni partnered with the French resale platform the Vestiare Collective to launch a vintage collection. Last December, luxury British label Burberry announced it was entering the secondhand market through an exclusive partnership with the UK-based secondhand platform, My Wardrobe HQ. Like Oscar de la Renta, it will restore and authenticate items from VIP customers and through its own vintage collections.

Italian luxury label Prada also announced it was eyeing a move into resale. “Secondhand is a strategy we have been investigating for more than a year,” Lorenzo Bertelli, the eldest son of co-Chief Executives Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, said during an interview last month.

“I cannot disclose too much but for sure secondhand is there. We will take it as an opportunity,” the future head of Prada said.

Oscar de la Renta says it sold 40 vintage items from its first secondhand collection, with the next batch launching today. The new collection features 31 dresses and 15 pieces of jewelry from DKF, including designs from Van Cleef & Arpels and JAR.

Encore will move into hosting online auctions that will allow customers to bid on dresses worn by celebrities on set as well as on red-carpeted events like the Met Gala.

While labels like Oscar de la Renta may be unloading their Hollywood vintage, the studios are lapping up the secondhand offerings. Late last year the costume designers for the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That, revealed they stocked their set wardrobes with resale items. The costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago also partnered with ThredUp for a resale collection inspired by the new show’s leading characters.

Resale ramp up

Encore is powered by the platform Archive, which specializes in the resale business, counting North Face’s Renewed Marketplace and Dagne Dover’s Almost Vintage among its clients. Oscar de la Renta’s Bolen is listed as an angel investor into Archive; the platform raised $8 million recently, bringing its total funding to $10 million. The latest round was led by Bain Capital Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Bolen applauded Archive for its role in the label’s secondhand platform launch. “We’ve achieved this goal with ‘Encore by Oscar de la Renta’ by utilizing both Archive’s superior technology and the ‘can-do’ approach of [CEO Emily Gittins] and the Archive team,” he said.

Archive was motivated by the shift from brick-and-mortar thrift and consignment shops to the digital platforms like ThredUp and The RealReal. The digital experience allows for streamlined matching of buyers and sellers.

Image courtesy Oscar de la Renta

It also builds community and gives an outlet for these fanatics of the brand,” Ryan Rowe, Archive’s co-founder and CTO told TechCrunch. “We realized that retail strategies are much bigger than this, so we’ve started to build out capabilities to help our brands do things like list their additional inventory that was maybe returned or damaged.”

Archive says brands have begun coming to the platform with resale identified as a top priority for 2022. The secondhand demand extends beyond clothes, handbags, and shoes. WatchBox, which authenticates and resells luxury watches, nabbed investments from NBA legend Michael Jordan, among others, as it hit a $1 billion valuation last year.

But brands are only half of the equation, according to Gittins.

“It feels like there is a huge opportunity for brands to improve how they plan buying to reduce the waste in the supply chain,” she told TechCrunch. “In my mind is an even bigger opportunity to unlock all of the inventory that is sitting in people’s closets in their houses.”


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