Why The UK's Millennials Are Turning To Depop Instead Of Hitting The Shops For Real

Choosing the app rather than the high street could help the planet

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Millennials are turning increasingly to Depop - buying, selling and swapping app for clothes, accessories and other wares - to service their shopping needs.

While it might diminish footfall inside high street stores like Zara and H&M, it does have one interesting side-benefit.

Buying second hand clothing is a much 'greener' way to do your shopping.

Since launching in 2012, the app, Depop,has been downloaded more than 3 million times, with a wave of teenagers and students taking to its easy Instagram-meets-eBay format, making it their first stop for new clothes, rather than a high street shop.

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I spoke with some students, and everybody said that unless they needed an outfit for an event happening at short notice, like a last minute costume or an LBD for an impromptu party, they would all look on Depop first.

The turnaround on the high street is so fast now - Zara gets two deliveries a week - that you've barely registered what it is you want before it's gone. Added to this, people don't necessarily want clothes that look 'new'.

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Anjlee Patel, 21, said 'When it comes to jumpers and jackets, I much prefer stuff that's a bit worn and distressed, and I love that Depop has plenty of that.'

But what about eBay?

Second hand clothing yes, but is it an appealing user experience?

Everyone that I spoke to has agreed: Depop is just easier to use.

It suggests things you might like once you've started following people, and rather than waiting anxiously for your phone to buzz to see if you've won your bid, you can buy that out of stock Whistles jumper as soon as you see it.

Tilly Ford, 15, confessed that she liked Depop because: 'I find it easier to find clothes that will suit my style as a young person, as someone who's interested in fashion.'

There is a community feel to Depop, with its Instagram feed full of vintage filters and minimal backgrounds, and a Twitter full of funny photos, rather than some of the more corporate pages.

The brand also boasts accounts hosted by big fashion names like Chiara Ferragni and Kate Moss's little sister Lottie Moss so you can now literally shop their looks. You can also feel good seeing their collaborations with LGBT+ organisation Stonewall, and a recent partnership with beauty blogger Fleur de Force sold out her items in hours for Coppafeel, the breast check-up charity.

So it's the bargain prices rather than the greener aspect of recycled clothing that attracts these buyers, but they are sticking with it, like many, many others.

The UK threw away 1 billion items of clothing in 2012 - to landfills, not charity shops - a rate we cannot afford to stay at, and definitely should not exceed.

By re-using clothes, we aren't just helping the environment in the short term while the app stays popular, we could also be creating a culture where recycling becomes the norm across all areas of life.

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