Dita Von Teese is selling strappy lingerie on it. Shaquille O’Neal uses it to pawn off basketball memorabilia. Jayne Min uses it to sell Céline tunics and Manolo Blahnik mules. Yuki Haze just copped a pair of Mercedes emblem earrings and necklace off it, and my colleague, photo researcher Alexandra Gurvitch, won’t stop talking about how she’s trawling it for a vintage version of this season’s fur-collared coat from Balenciaga. I’m talking about Depop, the buzziest e-commerce app in the United Kingdom, which is amassing a low-key fan base in the United States that’s steadily becoming, well, way less low-key.
Founded in 2011, Depop is a thrift-shopping oasis for millennials, with all of the charm of Etsy (duds dripping with naughties flair, throwback streetwear, outré vintage pieces, very reasonable prices) combined with an addictive interface that references—what else?—the double-tap attention-grabbing sinkhole of Instagram. On Depop, users can “like” pieces, message each other to haggle, and leave comments on items listed by their fellow users. You have the option to follow friends, celebrities, or strangers, so as to be among the first to find out when they post new wares. It’s basically Instagram, but instead of celebrities subtly hawking props in sponsored posts, it’s the conversation around the piece that is really the point. “The community aspect and the interface lets us stand out between our competitors,” says Depop’s PR director James Meredith, and it has created a buy-and-sell space that’s far more fun than sitting at home alone on your computer waiting to snap up something from eBay. “I think we have the right product and product that people want to see, especially with the younger generation.”
The network also resonates with the authenticity-first mindset of the digital generation: Personality is highlighted in many of the listings. The description for a velvet halter posted by Kurt Gooch, whose Depop handle is @icomebearingthrifts, reads “Not sure if this belonged to a professional skater or just a bomb person with a sequin fetish,” while a pair of silk trackpants with “Spoiled” emblazoned on the butt is described by Isabella McFadden (who operates under @internetgirl) thusly: “U would def be envious of [these] if u saw during Recess in grade school. & they are silk track pants so super cozy, which is always a plus.” Internet-speak may be at a premium, but for users like Gooch, who has been using Depop for a year, the online outlet feels like a place where he can fully be himself. “The Depop community is very positive and accepting of all people,” says Gooch. “I’m a dude who wears dresses and skirts on Depop and all I’ve gotten is acceptance and love from the Depop community.”
McFadden has a following of more than 73,000 on Depop, which is slightly more than her Instagram. She’s recently decided to take a year off from university to focus on selling clothes. She finds the direct messaging aspect essential to Depop’s success: “It is very personal,” says McFadden. “It is easy as texting. You’re just, like, talking back and forth, like, ‘Do you think this will look good with this?’ You’re in contact with these people and it is casual and it is personal and it is easy.”
The model seems to be working: Just last year Depop raised eight million dollars attempting to break into the United States market. They’ve also reeled in big-in-the-blogosphere names like Leandra Medine and Chiara Ferragni. But for Meredith, the real appeal is still in the personal touch. “Shaq is on! He’s cool. Every single photo is a selfie. He’s selling old magazines and anything he’s been in.” And that’s not all: “Apparently when you buy something from him he gives you a call,” says Meredith. Customer service with a millennial touch doesn’t seem so bad after all.
The post All Those Millennials Can’t Be Wrong: Why Depop Just Might Change the Way You Shop appeared first on Vogue.