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Depop and The Immediacy of Modern Day Fashion

In an age of vintage-obsessed fashion trends, the second hand shopping market is continuously increasing. Although second hand shopping is often prioritised from an aesthetic point of view, it is a far more environmental, ethical and economical way of purchasing clothes that is preferable to the somewhat disposable nature of many high street brands. One of the most popular second hand outlets is phone app Depop. The millennial fan-based fashion app combines the vintage appeal of a thrift store with the immediacy of online shopping. Users can sell their old clothes and purchase new ones all from the comfort of their smart phone. This Shoreditch-based app has been described as a ‘social shopping platform’ allowing its users to interact with each other about their items extensively and creating a sense of community in online shopping.


Depop could be described as a cross between Instagram and eBay. Each seller’s profile displays the items they are selling in various different square images giving a comment section for people to ask for further details or to negotiate a better deal. This interactive nature of the app is quite unique, adding the social media dimension to online shopping. It also has a search feature, allowing you to browse for a specific item or a specific person’s listings and likes, making the shopping experience more efficient than visiting many different shops in search of one item. You can often find a very specific or obscure item that you would never have been able to encounter without months of meticulously searching thrift stores.


One of the best things about the app is its ability to give a platform to small businesses and designers. Many small-scale vintage shops, fashion students and bloggers use Depop as the primary way to sell their items. It is an efficient way of interacting directly with their consumers and establishing themselves successfully amongst their target market before attempting bigger ventures. The app essentially gives a rent-free shop space to aspiring designers who would not be able to fund a physical store. 


The vast majority of the clothing available on Depop is second-hand or vintage clothing, often 00’s themed. Although these items provide a more interesting and unique aesthetic than many high street brands are able to do, buying second hand clothing is beneficial from an ethical point of view. Purchasing clothing that has already been worn decreases the need for such a large amount of new clothing. The high street shopping market is seasonal to the extreme. It promotes changing your entire wardrobe based on current trends, which is extremely environmentally unfriendly. Second hand clothing lessens the demand for this and promotes the idea that trends should not necessarily be seasonal, but rather something that you adopt into your personal style.


Although second-hand shopping is usually far cheaper than purchasing everything new, it is difficult to work out whether using Depop actually saves you money. There are various items that are far cheaper than obtaining new high-street purchases but the ease at which you are able to shop means that users will often surpass how much they intend to spend on clothing. Flicking through Depop is designed to be as quick and easy as scrolling through your Twitter feed or refreshing your emails, meaning that impulse purchases could define the nature of the app’s usage. One of the app’s unique selling points is the eclectic collection of one-of-a-kind designer items that it features. Depop boasts a multitude of unique and collectable vintage clothing, which is often very expensive. It is hard to deem Depop as either a economically positive or a negative way of shopping; it is far easier to buy cheaper clothing than from high-street shops but it is also a very easy way to impulse shop very expensive items.


I think Depop is one of the most exciting developments in fashion technology of the past five years. It has revolutionized the shopping habits of millennials and also the trends that they adapt. It promotes the idea to look to your peers for new trends rather than the elitist of high fashion magazines. The success of Depop is an interesting reflection on the way that we shop; the entirety of the app exists on a smartphone. Depop reflects our desire to be unique, our desire for simplicity and our desire to get everything we want at the touch of a button.   

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