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How Brands Are Collaborating with Depop to Reach Young Shoppers

With more and more young shoppers getting on secondhand shopping platforms, these brands are finding ways to reach them there…


Young consumers have been leaning into secondhand shopping for some time now, with thrift stores appearing in their favorite places to buy clothing rankings. But these generations have also given thrifting a modern makeover, as they flock to the digital platforms that combine their love of online shopping convenience, affordability, and eco-conscious consumption. YPulse’s sustainability behavioral report found that 49% of 13-39-year-olds have purchased secondhand clothing and accessories—and the $40 billion a year industry is expected to grow 15-20% in the next five years.

Resale platforms like ThredUp, Poshmark, and Depop have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, and COVID accelerated their growth even more. Since March, Depop saw a 74% surge in traffic, a 40% increase in listings, and 65% uptick in sales with a large proportion of the items listed being customized or upcycled. Many Gen Z users started a “trend tunnel” on the app (as well as on TikTok)—quickly bringing light to aesthetics like cottagecore and dark academia. And the company has had a big 2021 so far: At the beginning of the month, Etsy bought Depop for a whopping $1.6 billion in a major play to reach Gen Z, and an overall effort to grow its scale and fashion sector among young consumers.

Now, some brands have taken notice of the app and its young shopper base, and are finding ways to market and sell limited-edition and one of a kind products—some secondhand, some reissued, and some new—to the users on them. Here are eight brands that have collaborated with Depop to creatively reach young shoppers as they’re shopping secondhand:

Papa John’s
Food brands have been making their own merch to connect with young consumers for quite some time, and Papa John’s has put their own spin on the marketing trend. Earlier this month, they tapped Depop for a streetwear collaboration inspired by Gen Z’s love of fashion, music, and streetwear. The pizza brand created a “tongue-in-cheek spoof on a fashion drop,” and to make it feel authentic, they worked with the resale app to launch a limited-edition range of Cheddar-customized streetwear inspired by its delivery driver gear. The pizza chain’s latest global campaign includes a 30-second spot featuring young models eating pizza and wearing the Papa John’s x Depop streetwear, with their original “Cheddar” track from B Zino playing in the background. To create the line, they worked with a fashion student to turn real delivery driver gear into fashionable streetwear, and all the profits from the Depop drop went toward charity.

Last summer, Vans teamed up with the resale app for their first-ever collaboration, a six-piece capsule collection that included footwear and apparel designed by artists from the Depop community, like Jessica Luostarinen, LeiMai LeMaow, Connor Williams, and Yuki Haze. Each design was inspired by the each artist’s style, from Luostarinen’s expressive illustrations that feature “various-sized mouth-in-mid-laugh graphics” to LeMaow’s “graffiti murals and signwriting,” and Williams and Haze’s photography and collages. The whole collection was made available on the app, and as part of the launch, Depop teamed up with Snapchat to let users virtually try-on all four styles of the shoes using augmented reality.

Dickies Girl
Last spring, as DIY fashion took off among quarantined Gen Z consumers, Dickies sent its Dickies Girl collection to Depop sellers Zig Zag Goods to “rework pieces on Instagram Live.” The content generated positive feedback from many followers who reached out about techniques, and gave the brand and the designers access to a new audience. However, that wasn’t the first time Dickies collaborated with Depop. They previously worked with the app on a collaboration in honor of International Go Skate Day, which included graphic tees, workwear pants, and staples that featured their Spiral Denim Jacket that has “a large circular design emblazoned on the back” and their Sunset Stripe Tee,  which had a “rainbow screen-printed design on the front.” Other pieces featured classic colors with bold typography in “an array of summer-ready hues.”

Anna Sui
From Rebecca Minkoff joining OnlyFans to brands like Prada, Alice + Olivia, Dolce & Gabbana, Tory Burch, Burberry, and Missoni joining TikTok, luxury fashion brands have been experimenting with various ways to reach young shoppers. Of course, Anna Sui isn’t a stranger to jumping on apps popular with young users. Last spring, she got on Animal Crossing: New Horizons to create custom garments for players, and she joined Depop a few months after. After the resale app noticed an “uptick in searches” for Sui’s vintage pieces, they approached her for a collaboration. Under the username @annasui, the Anna Sui Depop Shop offered an “eclectic range of legendary vintage and throwback pieces” from her ‘90s-era clothing. The shop features everything from the “show-stopping baby-doll dress” from her Spring ‘94 collection to the statement plaid dress that French model Nadege du Bospertus wore in Sui’s Spring ‘92 runway show. Her account also featured a range of dresses, shirts, shoes, and socks that ranged from $20-$628. Sui told Vogue: “I love that there’s a revival of interest in vintage clothing. I grew up going to vintage stores and flea markets every weekend so am happy to see a new audience taking interest in one of my favorite activities through a different platform. We’re seeing it as a sustainable way to reach a new audience, as an ongoing digital sample sale, and a way to share some of the history of my brand.”

Following Anna Sui’s debut on the app, luxury brand Rodarte followed suit with their own collaboration with Depop last summer. Their @rodarte shop included a variety of casualwear pieces from past seasons of their iconic “Radarte” line. The collection also featured t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants, which don both the “Rodarte” and “Radarte” logos. Many of them include “cool vintage dip,” front changes, tie-dye prints, heart graphics, and other designs popular with Gen Z and Millennial shoppers—with “hues of red, gray, black, and Millennial pink,” and prices of the items ranged from $40 to $70.

Apparel brands aren’t the only ones jumping on Depop—jewelry brands are too. When earring startup Studs launched at the end of 2019 in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood, they wanted to create a whole retail experience around piercings to reach young consumers. They opened up a second location in Hudson Yards in February, but after the pandemic hit—they were forced to temporarily close their doors and found themselves at a standstill. After quickly brainstorming options to stay afloat during lockdowns, founders Anna Harman and Lisa Bubbers decided to join Depop because of its “social features, cool factor and clout” among Gen Z, which they say make up 50% of their customer base. Ahead of launching on Depop, they learned to “speak the Depop shopper’s language by studying up on Gen Z shopping behavior via platforms including Reddit and immersing themselves in the Depop app.” After seeing a lot of affordable, rare, and secondhand pieces that were tagged and labeled “sample,” “archive,” or “deadstock,” Studs hosted their own archive sale of unsold earrings from a previous collaboration with Man Repeller. Currently, the brand is dropping new collections every two weeks, and they plan on selling discontinued styles on the app going forward—and eventually sell exclusive collections by teaming up with Depop sellers.

Olivia Rodrigo
After taking the world by storm with her hit debut song “drivers license,” Rodrigo followed up the release of her studio album SOUR, which was instantly adored by fans. And as if Gen Z needed another to love Rodrigo (and Depop), she collaborated with them earlier this month for “SOUR shop,” where she brought exclusive items straight from her closet that were featured in the music videos for “good 4 u,” “driver’s license,” “deja vu,” and more. Levi’s jeans, Reformation blouses, Retro black sunglasses, “gothcore creeper” platform shoes, fluffy pink boas, and silk head scarves were among the pieces featured in the collection—and all of the items have sold out since dropping two weeks ago. Our sustainability research found that 71% of 13-39-year-olds do whatever they can to live sustainably on a daily basis, and through reselling her items and buying secondhand, the 18-year-old singer-songwriter has been doing just that in her own life. Rodrigo told Schön! magazine: “All that to say, I’ve spent the last few years trying to keep my clothing consumption as sustainable as I can. Buying second hand is so much fun, and sustainable brands like Reformation and Lisa Says Gah are to die for. It’s really important to think about how everyday actions, like how you get your clothes, can affect our planet for generations to come.”