Global luxury group Kering has taken a 5% stake in second-hand clothing online marketplace, Vestiaire Collective.
The investment is part of a €178 million funding round by Vestiaire Collective, which was also backed by US investment firm Tiger Global Management.
It comes following a strong year that resulted in the platform’s transaction volume grow by more than 100%. The financing round grants Vestiaire Collective ‘unicorn’ status and places it in a position for the next cycle of growth.
Last month, Kering-owned Alexander McQueen partnered with the marketplace, as a way of encouraging more circular fashion activity within its customer base. But interest in second-hand fashion continues to grow more widely as the industry looks to establish a refreshed model that puts environmental impact higher up the list of priorities.
Maximilian Bittner, Vestiaire Collective’s CEO, commented: “This latest round of investment confirms the incredible trajectory of Vestiaire Collective, founded during the 2008 crisis, the model has clearly demonstrated its ability to continue to thrive during challenging conditions.
“The resale sector as a whole is experiencing rapid growth, especially amongst millennial and Gen Z consumers, which will come to shape the retail landscape of the future. We are incredibly excited to welcome Kering and Tiger Global Management, both of which will be instrumental in our mission to build a more sustainable fashion industry and further grow our incredible global community.”
François-Henri Pinault, chairman & CEO of Kering, added: “Pre-owned luxury is now a real and deeply rooted trend, especially among younger customers.
“Rather than ignoring it, our wish is to seize this opportunity to enhance the value we offer our customers and influence the future of our industry towards more innovative and more sustainable practices. This fits naturally with our entrepreneurial spirit, our pioneering sustainability strategy, and our modern vision of luxury.”
Grégory Boutté, Kering’s chief client & digital officer, commented: “Our innovation strategy aims at investing in brands and technologies for the next generation of consumers, focusing on disruptive business models that allow us to better serve our clients and improve our performance.
“The investment in Vestiaire Collective makes full sense from both perspectives.”
Vestiaire Collective said it will use the latest round of funding to scale up its technology and data innovation roadmap, helping bring a change in attitude across the fashion industry
Methods to help drive that change include pushing its ‘Brand Approved’ service, as used by Alexander McQueen, which encourages fashion companies to buy back preloved items from customers for resale on the Vestiaire platform. There are also plans to partner with more ‘fashion activists’ to help develop the growing narrative around the importance of a circular economy.
[Image credit: Chris Moore Catwalking.com]