Cover Kering invests in resale platform, Vestiaire collective (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)

With the investment, French luxury group, Kering acquired a five per cent stake in the resale platform which pushed its valuation above a billion for the first time

French luxury group, Kering, which owns brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney together with US investment firm, Tiger Global Management, have invested HK$215 million dollars in the resale platform, Vestiaire Collective. The investment allowed Kering to acquire a five per cent stake in the company.

The investment is partly due to a strong year for Vestiaire Collective, seeing its transaction volume grow over 100 per cent year-on-year. The move grants the platform unicorn status and ideally positions it for its next cycle of accelerated growth.

"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," says Maximilian Bittner, CEO of Vestiaire Collective.

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The pre-owned fashion sector has experienced massive growth over the last three years and even more so during the pandemic, particularly driven by younger consumers' increased focus on sustainability as well as the growing trend for online shopping. It's predicted that the amount of secondhand pieces in people's wardrobe will grow from 21 per cent in 2021 to 27 per cent in 20223 with a value forecasted to be worth over US$60 billion by 2025.

"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," says François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering.

Since its inception, Vestiaire Collective's mission has been to extend the life of products in the fashion industry and to support a circular economy by empowering a community of "fashion activities" to drive changes in fashion consumer behaviour. Since then, the platform has positioned itself at the forefront of the second-hand market, capturing an increasing share of the global resale market as seen by its 90 per cent year-on-year membership growth in 2020.

With this investment, Vestiaire Collective will be scaling up its technology and data innovation roadmap. These will be supported by a sustainability roadmap focusing on four main pillars which include trigging change in luxury fashion by being the go-to "brand approved" service, empowering and growing a community of "fashion activists" by introducing a fashion activist badge and "follow the leaf" program, reducing environmental footprint and be carbon neutral by 2016 and finally to be an overall exemplary company.

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