Fashion resale is expected to grow 11x faster than the primary retail sector. Even reality TV stars are buying in like the owner of this consignment store in Utah.

This Utah consignment store styles ‘The Real Housewives of SLC’ in vintage Valentino

Fashion resale is expected to grow 11x faster than the primary retail sector. Even reality TV stars are buying in like the owner of this consignment store in Utah.

Tiffany Colaizzi knows a thing or two about fashion resale and investment pieces. Her store, Name Droppers, has been in business in Salt Lake City since 1995, growing into two locations and employing 11 staff members.

“I always knew I wanted to open up a consignment store,” she shares. Growing up in California, Colaizzi would convince her friends to give her the pieces they no longer wanted and frequent local thrift shops to sell the contents of her mother’s closet. She became “obsessed” with fashion resale, she says.

Fast forward to today. It would have been hard for anyone to predict her high-end consignment business would grow as robustly as it has—or that she’d be styling the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City in head-to-toe fashion resale (for those wondering, yes, Heather Gay was wearing vintage Valentino at BravoCon).

According to GlobalData, the resale industry is expected to grow 11x faster than the primary retail sector through 2025, with luxury resale, in particular, growing 4x as fast. If you’re questioning why anyone would choose to buy used rather than new, it’s much more nuanced than price alone.

“It’s more like a hobby,” explains Rachel Saya, a 27-year-old product manager who moved to Utah for college and stuck around to work in technology. “My mindless shopping is thrifting. Over time, I’ll create a list of items that I’m looking for.” 

Saya says the act of moving “smacks you in the face” with how much stuff you have, and she’s moved around a lot. “[Moving] created a big push for me to thrift more. I liked the idea of an item not being produced for just me. When I thrift, I’m more thoughtful,” she says.

Saya started her thrifting endeavors through KSL, Deseret Industries, and Facebook Marketplace but increasingly found herself searching for local thrift and consignment stores as she moved from neighborhood to neighborhood throughout Silicon Slopes. “Then I started getting really into the resale apps,” she says.

Those “resale apps” are some of the leading reasons shopping and selling secondhand is becoming more socially acceptable—even a point of pride. For many, the allure of secondhand comes down to three things: price, sustainability, and uniqueness. What once came with a stigma now comes with bragging rights

Poshmark, a popular peer-to-peer resale app, has over 80 million users. The RealReal, an upscale consignment app, claims over 28 million members. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: nearly 9 in 10 shoppers making more than $175,000 annually have previously bought a resale item, and 74 percent of US consumers have shopped or are open to shopping secondhand apparel specifically. 

For the unfamiliar, a quick explainer: not all resale apps and consignment stores are created equally. Some resale apps and stores—like Mercari and Goodwill, for example—cater to value brands, low prices, and items for everyday wear. Other resale apps and stores like Rebag and Fashionphile cater to affluent clientele. These are destinations where shoppers purchase investment pieces, hard-to-find designer collaborations, and luxury vintage. Here, it’s all about status, quality, and circularity. A consumer may typically purchase a dress, shoes, or trousers for a specific occasion and then allow it to sit in the closet, idle, once the event is over. With resale apps, they can give that piece a new lease on life—and make a little extra pocket change in the process.

Looking back on how the perception of secondhand fashion has changed over time, Colaizzi credits the explosion of resale apps for helping introduce a broader audience to its wonders. “A lot of people are getting savvy that they don’t need to spend that much, or maybe they want something that’s not in stores,” she explains. “Yes, [the apps] split client behavior, but it’s given my store more exposure. They’ve opened the eyes of so many people to secondhand.”

"I think this is a great lesson for our kids to learn: that brand new isn't always better for your wallet or for the environment."

Whose eyes have been opened specifically? Men, for starters. “Many men and teenage kids are shopping secondhand now, asking me about Gucci, Supreme, and streetwear,” Colaizzi says. “Before, no men were coming in. A lot of that is drawn from pop culture. Rappers, Instagram, everybody being so flashy with their brands.”

Beyond her growing male clientele, Colaizzi shares that her business makes an effort to source pieces that are in demand across genders and ages—both trendy and evergreen. Contemporary lines like Vince, A.L.C, Nili Lotan, and Theory are consistently popular, she explains. “Luxury brands are doing really well. Chanel is raining, Gucci is up there killing it, and I’m selling a lot of Saint Laurent. Goyard is often in and out within a day.” Popular vintage designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood are also now back in vogue among her customers.

You can hear the excitement in Colaizzi’s voice as she details the inclusive, welcoming space she’s created via Name Droppers. “There’s something in there for everybody. It’s a great place for families to shop,” she stresses. Items stay on her floor for 40 days, and if they haven’t sold by that point, they are marked 50 percent off and moved to Name Droppers’ outlet location. “It doesn’t matter when you come in; it’s all different inventory,” Colaizzi says.

Skilled thrifters don’t need a luxury budget to afford high-end consignment pieces, explains a Salt Lake City-based resale enthusiast who prefers to go by her first name, Cassie. “A few years ago, I was shopping at [Deseret Industries] and found a pair of Louboutin heels for $8! They were unfortunately 1/2 a size too small, so after a couple of painful nights out, I made the hard decision to sell them on Poshmark,” she says. “I made a pretty nice profit.”

The draw of frequently rotating inventory and an assortment of new options is important for consumers—and one of the several reasons resale apps have skyrocketed in popularity. But “newness” isn’t the only reason: sustainability is a major factor driving resale.

For context, it can take nearly 2,400 gallons of water to make a single pair of new jeans. According to a U.N. Environment Programme report, the fast fashion industry is responsible for up to eight percent of global carbon emissions.

Saya shares that trying to “be more green” influenced her initial exploration into fashion resale nearly ten years ago, and Cassie says that the “explosion of fast fashion and throwaway clothes” is a “primary reason” she embraces secondhand. “’I’m very concerned that we as a society are too acquisitive, especially when it comes to clothes,” she continues. “By keeping my family’s clothes out of the landfill and not burdening thrift stores that are already overwhelmed, I feel that in a tiny way, I’m helping to work toward a more sustainable solution.”

Still, for some, a discomfort around secondhand lingers. Kristina Wheeler, a native Utahn and stay-at-home mom leaned into secondhand while she and her family were making less money. She remains hesitant to embrace resale unless economic conditions call for it. “I never really wanted to buy used clothes,” she shares. But even Facebook Marketplace comes through sometimes—like when Wheeler turned to the platform for her son’s Halloween costume.

“Shopping secondhand is now my default,” Cassie underscores. “I’m teaching it to my kids as they become teenagers. As a family, our assumption is that if we want clothes, mom will find it online somewhere for a fraction of the price. I think this is a great lesson for our kids to learn: that brand new isn’t always better for your wallet or for the environment.”

With inflation elevated and consumers looking to put their dollars where their values are, it’s hard not to understand why resale is increasingly dominating the retail conversation and why even brands are throwing their weight behind in-house resale programs. A $289 billion opportunity awaits.

"Emily K. Schwartz is a writer, fashion resale expert, and founder of The Resale Stylist."