St Catherine’s Students Adding Fizz To Flat Times
St Catherine’s sisters Matilda (Year 9) and Florence (Year 11) Corsham have sharpened their entrepreneurship skills during lockdown.
It’s been billed as Instagram meets eBay, and with opportunities for teenage fun largely gone in lockdown, the “social shopping ” platform Depop is taking off among enterprising Australian kids.
Like Instagram, the app provides users with a feed of images (of second-hand clothes) other young users have posted, and the chance to follow influencers in whatever vintage niche floats their boat. Like Spotify, it suggests items based on what they have already liked or bought – usually for a steal.
As well as the cut prices, both say the sustainability aspect of Depop has huge appeal to a generation focused on environmental issues and the footprint of the fast fashion largely aimed at them.
“It’s a great way to reuse things rather than chuck things out that are perfectly fine. A lot of things like that get thrown away and it’s really bad for the environment,” says year 9 student Matilda.
Kids are quite happy to buy clothes that may not be perfect so long as they know what’s coming: “As long as people are really honest and show wear and tear, a little hole or mark and put photos of that on, it’s fine.”
It’s an activity that’s good and cleansing … and you can have your own little business kind of thing.
Matilda Corsham, 14
For Florence, as well as providing a lockdown distraction, getting into Depop is helping to replace the income from her part-time job lost to the pandemic.
“A lot of clothes are so expensive and [Depop] makes you much more aware of the value of money. You can buy cheaper clothes and still find great brands and quality,” she said.
Retro streetwear is hot, and items such as vintage Champion hoodies from seasons well and truly past are sought after, fetching around $40 (having retailed originally for about $100). “There are also all these designer brands, you could get a $70 Kookai dress for $15 or $20,” said Matilda.
Items with unknown provenance, sometimes from mothers’ closets, that could not be found now are also in demand. Florence describes this category as “random things that people have bought overseas and they don’t even know the brand, that you know no one else will have – things that are unique and look really cool and get a lot of likes are sold really quickly”.
All marketing, pricing, customer relations and, most importantly, honest communication about the goods on offer, including their imperfections, is done young-person to young-person and Florence says kids are reliably transparent in their dealings with each other.
Dr Hariette Richards, whose University of Melbourne research includes sustainability and fashion, said young people she has surveyed are very interested in, and knowledgeable about, the sustainability and ethics of fashion. “They are thinking quite deeply about it, and this is wonderful to see,” she said.
“The re-sale industry is one of the largest sectors in the fashion industry … young people are playing with fashion a lot more. There’s a lot of stigmatisation that young people are wrapped up in fast fashion and that’s all they buy – I just don’t think that’s the case.”