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Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent
Issue #104 How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent

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Model wearing second hand clothing Depop

How Depop Became An Incubator For New Fashion Design Talent

In 2011, entrepreneur Simon Beckerman founded an app that would change the face of sustainable fashion. Originally envisioned as a social network for young creatives to showcase and sell their products, it quickly evolved into the peer-to-peer resale platform we know today as Depop

Redefining secondhand shopping for the digital generation and ushering in the revival of ’90s and Y2K fashion, Depop struck a chord with the cash-strapped and fashion hungry, accruing around 30 million registered users to date.  

Young people began to turn sourcing and reselling garments into full-time jobs, and the ‘Depop girlie’ aesthetic – think low-rise jeans, vintage Dad fleeces and Juicy Couture joggers – was born. Over the past 13 years, sellers have collectively made more than $2.5billion. 

Now, armed with years of data on what sells and a loyal community of customers, some top sellers are turning their hands to designing. Depop is evolving into a de facto incubator for emerging designers, offering an unorthodox route into the notoriously hard-to-crack fashion industry. 

Isabella Vrana, or @bellavrana on Depop, began selling Y2K and ’90s-inspired vintage on the platform in 2015, amassing 179,000 followers and selling more than 22,000 items to date. Vrana noticed a real appetite for (and scarcity of) well-made basics in her stock and decided to fill the gap with her own designs. Fast forward nine years and Vrana is still a top seller, but she now has a full-time buyer for her Depop store and a studio, team and factory creating her vintage-inspired designs under the Isabella Vrana label. 

Susa Musa; Kath & Rosa; Danielle Mass, Remass; Isabella Vrana

Vrana is in good company. Brands such as Susa Musa, Vivi Wei and Kath & Rosa all started as Depop resellers before making a name for themselves in sustainable fashion design. 

“People come to Depop for inspiration, not just transactions,” explains Depop CEO Kruti Patel Goyal. “The structure of our platform, the community ethos and the support programs we provide are key parts of what drives this ‘incubator’ effect.” Depop’s Now/Next incubation programme, for example, provides grants, support and guidance to the app’s rising stars. A recent iteration of the programme focused on spotlighting Black sellers across the US. Depop also hosts pop-up stores in the UK, providing funding and support for sellers to bring their virtual shops to life and showcase their original designs and curated vintage stock.  

Sustainability is the lifeblood of these post-Depop brands. Vrana sources fabric locally and her designs are made in north London but she’s still conscious that “the problem with making new stuff is that it’s inherently unsustainable”. Giving new life to already existing clothes helps her somewhat counteract that.  

For Danielle Mass, founder of Depop store and sustainable fashion brand Remass, selling pre-loved items concurrent to her label helps her track what’s trending and only produce items she knows will sell well. Depop also gives her an experimental space to list items that are in production or have slight defects, helping to reduce waste. 

Since 2018, Mass has sold over 37,000 garments to her 129,000 Depop followers. In 2021, she began designing for Remass, using unwanted fabric scraps from factories. “I’d never even dreamed of having my own brand,” she says, but Depop unexpectedly provided her with e-commerce experience, insights into what’s trending and brand credibility through reviews and her reputation as a reseller – without needing to go to fashion school.  

Goyal considers this democratisation of the fashion industry as one of Depop’s central missions. Depop helps “entrepreneurs from all walks of life find an audience quickly, tap into a consumer base that really values what they’re offering, set trends and drive conversations”.  

As Remass grows, people sometimes ask Mass if she will ever leave Depop, but she can’t see why she would. “It’s where we grew up,” she says, “and you should never forget your roots.” 

5 Depop Designers To Have On Your Radar 

  1. @viviensvintage -– Designer Vivien Tang runs a store in London’s Brick Lane vintage market, uploads bi-weekly drops of ’90s and Y2K-inspired vintage on Depop, and designs skirts and jackets using recycled materials for her brand Vivi Wei
  1. @susamusa – Timeless, feminine and ethically made, SusaMusa is the go-to designer for elevated going-out clothes. Though the brand has graduated from reselling, samples and limited-edition drops are still up for grabs on the SusaMusa Depop store.  
  1. @Elleboll – Elleboll’s Depop is a one-stop shop for vintage Y2K blouses, boho skirts and the designer’s hand-knitted off-the-shoulder tops with detachable bows. 
  1. @meiwai – Selling minimalist ’90s-style archive designer on Depop, MeiWai’s first original design, a long-sleeved black top with thumb holes, has already sold out, signalling big things to come for the emerging independent brand. 
  1. @Byeanna An exciting accessories designer creating handmade chunky crochet bags made from 100% recycled T-shirt material, available as small purses or statement cross-body bags on Depop. 

Alice Crossley is a freelance writer and foresight analyst at The Future Laboratory 

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