Why second-hand could be the future of fashion

Sustainability has been a prominent conversation within the world of fashion long before our lives were changed by Covid-19. Now, conscious consumption means so much more than just eco-friendly shopping, it means supporting small business, adding second-hand pieces to your wardrobe and ultimately, buying with meaning. Here Billie Bhatia discusses how the rise of second-hand could change things…

There has been a quiet revolution within the fashion industry over the past couple of seasons (how time is measured in fashion), one that has seen consumers change their habits considerably when it comes to shopping. The crux of this change is sustainability.

Brands are no longer willing or interested in maintaining the pace of trends we have previously seen, where newness is churned out every six months without any continuity just for the sake of it - you know the drill, it’s all about fringing, no wait it’s all about sequins, hold on, it’s all about neon!

Now, designers and contemporary brands are resting on the codes of their house (the kind of touches that make a piece recognisably Celine/Dior/YSL etc), allowing us to extend the life of the pieces in our wardrobes from season to season. 

Similarly, consumers have also felt this changing shift and have diversified where they shop and how they go about building their timeless capsule wardrobe. 

Instead of relying on fast fashion and trends, shoppers are now approaching style with a different attitude to how we consume, and shopping vintage and second-hand.


Thanks to fashion’s extensive resale market, second-hand is not a new concept, in fact it is one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry - a second-hand fashion piece is now sold every three seconds on eBay. But busy lives and demands on time have been prohibiting factors in why a lot of people haven’t invested in second-hand before. 

Convenience was a driving factor in our shopping habits, so diverting from what we had come to know as ‘normal’ shopping naively seemed like hard work, something that would consume hours and could potentially not be successful. 

And so, we might not have given it the time of day it deserved. 

That was until a global pandemic changed every aspect our lives, and we were forced to rethink everything we do and how we behave, even down to what we wear and how we shop for it. Instead of going out, cruising the high streets and shopping ‘new in’ constantly, we have been able to give time to really consider what we are buying and sink our teeth into shopping in a more meaningful way, starting with second-hand.

Quickly, what second-hand shoppers have come to learn is that actually the notion that scouring for second-hand gems was a time-consuming exercise, was just an assumption, and when given the right platform, buying pre-loved can be just as easy to navigate as your favourite store, and even more bountiful. 


In the same way Covid-19 continues to change the way we exist, it also has made us consider how we were spending our money, where we were spending it and how much of it we were spending. 

For many, the pandemic tightened purse strings and those things like ‘adding to basket’ on fast throw-away fashion sites is not something people are now willing to do. 

Instead, we are moving away from the materialistic mindset we had in a pre-Covid-19 world, and considering supporting smaller business, independent shops and worthy initiatives. 

That’s where sites like eBay come in. Over the years eBay has transcended to become so much more than just a resale site, it’s come to embody a verb-like quality of buying, selling and most prominently, investing. 

Like many online platforms, the idea of eBay can feel overwhelming, with so much product where do you begin? Well, let us guide you. 


For the first time ever, Stylist is partnering with eBay to create an online boutique full of incredible vintage finds, some of which are unbelievably hard to come across (even for the seasoned shopper) to form a curated edit of the best vintage and pre-loved clothing on the website. 

With over 9 million second-hand fashion items available on eBay right now, this carefully curated edit features the best of the best, we are talking Gucci belts, vintage Calvin Klein jeans and even Chanel pumps with bids starting from 99p. 

Taking the hard work out of searching for these gems, this boutique serves as a portal to help you add timelessness to your wardrobe. From denim, to 70s, to classic vintage – think tailored Joseph pieces and wish-you-had-kept St Michael’s cashmere – through to pretty romantic pieces and even eveningwear, every taste and trend is catered to. 

If that wasn’t enough, all proceeds from the Stylist x eBay boutique will be donated to Oxfam in support of Oxfam’s Second Hand September which encourages people to pledge to shop second hand for 30 days or more.


Conscious consumption was a critical conversation the fashion industry was having pre-Covid-19 and continues to be high on the agenda now – just this year alone, eBay has saved the equivalent weight of 900 double decker buses of fashion items going into landfill.

As much as the onus is on big companies to do better, the responsibility also falls to the individual which is why extending the life of fashion through pre-loved and second-hand is an important step to positively work towards a more sustainable future.

Whether you’re coming to eBay for the first time, the fifteenth time or the fiftieth time, you can guarantee that this is shopping that is good for the wallet, good for your wardrobe and good for others. The future is definitely looking second-hand.

Shop the Stylist x eBay boutique

eBay / £0.99

Norris bucket bag

eBay / £0.99

Calvin Klein jeans

eBay / £0.99

Celine striped shirt

eBay / £0.99

Chanel pumps

eBay / £0.99

Gucci belt

eBay / £0.99

Stella McCartney dress

For vintage gems that help support Oxfam’s Second Hand September initiative, head to the Stylist x eBay boutique now.