Payton Rigler in one her upcycled outfits she created. Using old textiles, Rigler created the jacket from scratch and upcycled the jeans by dyeing them. // Courtesy of Payton Rigler


In an effort to make some additional cash, some UA students are selling thrifted and original pieces on the social shopping platform Depop.

The rising popularity of Depop has created a marketplace for shoppers to buy and resell their old and up-cycled garments, reducing waste in the fashion industry. For many students, the platform serves as an opportunity to make a quick profit, while also having a place to sell their own designs.

As traditional retail declines, e-commerce is expected to reach $666 billion this year, according to Business Insider. Depop first launched in 2011, creating a social marketplace that allows users to follow profiles, save items and sell clothes.

Casey McNamee, a freshman majoring in apparel merchandising, uses Depop to resell her old and thrifted clothes. While the money is a big factor in what she sells, McNamee prices her items affordably so that people can buy the clothes they actually want.

McNamee began selling on Depop after spring break, and has made around $500 from the 38 items she has sold. She said originally downloaded the app to shop, but transitioned into selling her own items.

“I’ve had it for a few years and so it eventually led to me selling on it,” McNamee said. “When I moved to college I sold a lot of my clothes on Depop, and I’ve gotten more into thrifting and reselling there.”

Redesigning from old textile pieces, McNamee alters and adds to already existing apparel to create new designs. Purchasing 99 cents t-shirts or polos, McNamee upcycles the clothes by bleaching or adding trendy features, like clothespins, she said.

While some take already existing apparel pieces and upcycle them, others create new ones from scratch to sell as original designs.

Payton Rigler, a sophomore majoring in apparel merchandising, uses Depop as a personal storefront for her original designs, repurposing pieces of fabrics and thrifted clothes to create her own designs.

“It started in high school when I found a hobby of upcycling thrift clothes, and it ended up being really fun,” Rigler said. “I enjoy taking old textiles and creating a new piece; it's good for the environment and I already have a shopping habit as it is, so it’s been an opportunity to make some extra money.”

In addition to using Depop as a space to sell, Rigler said she uses it to find inspiration and trends for her original designs.

“I use Depop more as an inspiration, as a trend board in my head,” Rigler said. “It has inspired me to find different styles and has impacted the way I design and sew.”

As fast fashion becomes increasingly popular with low-price tags and trendy styles, the environment pays a bigger price. In 2019, the fashion industry contributed to 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, according to U.N. Climate Change.

Depop creates a second chance for fashion, opening a space for pieces to be resold, while reducing the fashion industry’s impact on the environment.

“I think there’s always going to be those people who are trying to save some money, by buying from brands such as Shein or Zaful,” Rigler said. “As people are growing in their awareness of how our fast fashion tastes are impacting the environment, I hope we gear towards Depop, Poshmark, or eBay, or even thrifting.”

Dr. Leigh Southward, professor of apparel studies, said she thinks Depop and other secondhand reselling platforms are positively impacting students and the environment.

“They’re keeping these textiles and apparel products from ending up in a landfill somewhere, and providing a good way to make some extra money,” Southward said.

Given the current economic situation, online platforms like Depop are providing students with an innovative way to make some extra money, Southward said.

Additionally, Depop has offered a new way for users to shop for vintage and street style fashion, offering thousands of items in one place.

“It’s cool how retro styles are coming back and it’s appreciated more on Depop, versus at the thrift store (where) everything is just thrown in,” Rigler said. “All it takes is the right person to find that piece and I think Depop is the place where you find those pieces that you search for hours for at Goodwill, in one place.”

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