Apr 22nd, 2019, 03:28 PM

The Rise of Depop

By Koko Dama
Depop Logo. Image credit: Depop
"See now, Buy now"—but make it vintage.

Depop, an online Italian company founded in 2011, combines features from social media platforms, Instagram and eBay, to allow people to buy and sell clothing that is vintage or never worn. Additionally, the application allows buyers and sellers to interact, which creates the purchasing of items online personable, especially if you have questions about the item. According to Maria Raga, Depop’s chief executive, when she spoke to The Guardian, “Depop is about people selling stuff that is good quality, inspirational and that is down to a lot of creativity." 

Screen Shot of Leandra Medine's (Man Repeller)  Depop Shop, Photo via Sami Claire

This business model is shaking up the fashion world and redefining the notion of shopping by creating an online market where people are able to purchase unique clothing items that are not sold in mainstream stores. Traditionally, consumers go to a store and purchase something that they like but go out and see many people wearing the same item. However, Depop allows buyers to purchase exclusive items that were once popular in a different era at the fraction of the cost. Currently, Depop has 10 million users and makes over $400 million a year in sales, a figure that has doubled year on year. Its financial success is attributed to its sustainability; the products sold are merchandised by the sellers and the company receives 10 percent of the entire sale.  

Screen Shot of Depop Website, Showing an item for sale from Internet Girl,  Photo via Sami Claire

According to one figure, “it's British shoppers, 80% of whom are aged 13 to 24, buy an average of 20,000 items a day. It reckons that hundreds of its top sellers make more than £150,000 a year selling online.” Some sellers, like, Thidarat Kaha, sells about £6,000 of clothes a month to her 44,000 followers.“ According to Kaha when they spoke to The Guardian, “we are living in an age of DIY and the rise of being able to create your own platform. The mainstream market used to be just buying something from Topshop, and someone else would have that same dress.” Therefore, this application provides a low-risk platform for up-and-coming designers and regular people to make a livelihood or additional income for themselves from selling their vintage or unworn goods.  And best of all, it encourages a re-use and re-cycle philosophy, which in this day and age, is something that many millennials and Generation Z (under 25) prefer.

Depop has also ignited specific cult followings for certain sellers. Users like Internet Girl, aka Bella McFadden, have become well known outside of Depop as she has embarked on other endeavors like designing a small line of accessories and creating a YouTube channel. On her YouTube channel, she shows her thrift store finds and conducts interviews with other creatives (many also on Depop) in her segment called “Trashion”. She also has become a favorite amongst other fashion lovers on Instagram and often appears on Pinterest for her Y2K like mall-goth style.

Depop App Screen Shot, Photo via Sami Claire

In total, $40m has now been put into the company by investors betting on that future, including Octopus Ventures, the company that backed Graze and Gym Box and Creandum, that backed Spotify and the payment tech firm iZettle. In January of 2018, the company secured $20 million to open brick-and-mortar stores in two of the trendiest neighborhoods in the United States: New York’s Chinatown and the Silverlake area of Los Angeles. The decision was made after the company grew sales in the United States by 137 percent. Depop plans to use these new spaces to host pop-ups and events, as well as house company offices in order to “bring together a community of creative people who love fashion, music, and design.” If its success continues, Depop will redefine traditional shopping and rekindle a love for and reintroduction of vintage clothing into our current fashion.