Tell us about the story behind worn – how does it work?
I started worn. in early 2019 and it’s been quite the journey that’s led us to where we are today. For a couple of years beforehand, we hosted pop-ups around London in partnership with some of our favourite sustainable brands. In each space we would host talks and fun events, and we quite quickly built a really engaged community. We wanted the pop-ups to provide spaces for like-minded people and brands to connect, collaborate and flourish. It was so exciting to watch that community grow, but we felt we still weren’t tackling the issue of clothing waste – which is so important in the fashion industry right now.
We opened our first fully ‘pre-loved’ pop-up in February 2019. My co-founder Lily [Fortescue] and I spent weeks in the run up curating the best pieces from some of the most incredible wardrobes. Our aim was to totally change the perception of second-hand clothes. The day we opened there was a queue outside and we soon realised we were on to something. For a year, we operated just on Instagram and via different pop-ups around London. We both had full-time jobs, too, so we would run the business at the weekend and during holidays – it was full-on but so much fun, too.
What brands can you find at worn.?
We try to ensure we have something for everyone, so we always have a mix of contemporary and luxury items. We always have incredible dresses, tops, shoes, coats and more, from brands like Jacquemus, Khaite, The Row, Isabel Marant, Zimmerman etc. We also have timeless Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Versace and some incredible vintage items as well. Most of our pre-loved pieces are less than a year old and still very much on trend. We receive new stock every day, so there’s always plenty to on offer.
Can you return anything if it doesn’t fit?
Yes absolutely! Our priority is to make sure our worn. shoppers are happy with their purchases. Just make sure you contact us within 48 hours of receiving your order, especially if the item condition is not what you expected.
What authenticity measures are in place?
We have a rigorous authenticity process – for instance, in most cases we have possession of the original receipt, complete with serial numbers and any other codes which could be verified with the brand. We also work with an external authenticator who checks the items before they go on sale. If there is any doubt at all, we won’t accept or sell the item.
Can anyone list something to sell? How can one go about that?
Absolutely. All the information is on our website in the ‘Sell With Us’ section, but essentially it starts with you dropping our customer service team and email who will then set up a call or virtual appointment to discuss what you’re interested in selling. Then we arrange a convenient collection or drop-off time to suit you, and afterwards we’ll send you a detailed breakdown of all the prices we think your pieces will fetch. Once both parties are agreed on price, the pieces will go on sale on the site, on our Instagram and we’ll update you each month with any sales or payments which have been made, inclusive of our 35% commission.
Where do you see the pre-loved market going in the next few years?
People are wearing second-hand pieces with so much more pride now! I’m almost embarrassed to say something is new when I go out and I often feel guilty when something in my wardrobe is only worn once.
The younger generations are the pioneers. Depop has done so well it’s made it almost uncool to shop new. The future for the second-hand market is so exciting, too, because the pandemic made people far more conscious of their purchases, and less trend driven. Celebrities are re-wearing outfits on the red carpet and brands are collaborating with re-sale companies… it’s such an exhilarating space to be in and it’s only getting better.
What’s the next step for worn.?
Our mission is to make buying pre-loved and making sustainable changes fun and easy, so developing our tech side is the next step for us. That said, we will always try to have a physical presence and do as many pop-ups and collaborations as possible – getting away from our screens and being able to touch, feel and experience clothes is so important.