The past decades have witnessed a growing trend of secondhand fashion consumption in both Western and Eastern countries, including China, which previously had a negative connotation of buying used garments due to aspects of saving face (Cervellon et al. 2012). Amongst other environmental factors, it appears that the current economic and social climate has contributed towards a new consumer trend for acquiring and reusing secondhand clothing.
The global secondhand clothing trade—having been defined as any fashion item that has been ‘pre loved or pre-owned ’ and without age/ era restrictions—has grown as an economic entity, providing a living for in excess of 100,000 people and offering a desirable and essential clothing source in underdeveloped economies (Hansen 2000; Mhango and Niehm 2005). The secondhand luxury fashion industry is comprised of sectors, which include clothing, footwear and accessories (the latter of which constitutes leather goods, such as shoes, handbags, watches and jewellery). Secondhand luxury fashion also includes vintage fashion, which is associated with garments from specific eras, namely the 1920s to the 1990s (Gerval 2008). Contrary to secondhand luxury fashion, vintage fashion does not necessarily have to be used, but can also be, for example, catwalk pieces that have never been worn or only been worn once. Gerval (2008) defines vintage as garments, which offer the consumer luxury value through product exclusivity, exceptional craftsmanship and in vintage terms, unique high-fashion pieces of a specific era. Recent years have seen an extension of this definition, to include garments produced in the period between the 1920s and 1980s, associated with aspects of nostalgia (Cervellon et al. 2012; Crewe and Martin 2016). For us, the editors, we felt there were significant opportunities and a gap to fully define, explore and examine contemporary developments within the (secondhand) vintage and luxury fashion market, focusing particularly on aspects related to product marketing, merchandising, branding and communication, within the much broader context of the fashion