Burberry partners with The RealReal to test reselling high fashion

Burberry is partnering with luxury reseller The RealReal as high-fashion begins to test the waters of the growing used clothing market.

Through a new initiative that launched Monday, customers who consign a Burberry product on The RealReal will be invited for a personal shopping session and tea at one of Burberry’s retail locations. The partnership will last until Jan. 30, 2020.

“Through this new partnership we hope to not only champion a more circular future but encourage consumers to consider all the options available to them when they’re looking to refresh their wardrobes,” said Pam Batty, vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry.

The announcement is the latest sign of high fashion starting to play nicely with the booming resale clothing market in the United States. Luxury brands have been slow to embrace resale companies because they directly compete with each other for customers, but retailers can no longer ignore the younger, environmentally aware and aspirational luxury shoppers who are turning to the used clothing market.

The secondhand clothing market has grown 21 times faster than the retail apparel market over the past three years, according to a GlobalData Retail research report featured on reseller ThredUp’s website. The resale clothing industry is expected to nearly double from $28 billion today to $51 billion by 2023, the report forecast.

Burberry is now trying to take advantage of the growing number of The RealReal customers who are interested in the brand. The British trench-coat maker said that according to The RealReal, resale demand for Burberry has increased by 64% year-on-year, with searches for Burberry on the site rising fastest among Millennial and Gen Z customers.

Other retailers are starting to acknowledge the burgeoning secondhand market too. In April, Neiman Marcus took a minority stake in resale site Fashionphile. In the future, shoppers will be able to deposit their used shoes and bags at Neiman Marcus locations to ship back to Fashionphile.

Burberry could also be using the partnership to get back in the good graces of environmentalists after it was revealed that the company destroyed clothes and perfume worth more than $36 million in 2017.