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eBay’s Imperfects marketplace sells the new value of old clothes

eBay Imperfects // Illustration by Kate Walker

eBay’s Imperfects marketplace sells the new value of old clothes


Future. eBay is getting in on the secondhand-fashion craze by launching the Imperfects hub — a place for brands to sell damaged goods at a discount that would otherwise end up in the dump. While pieces from top fashion houses will never be truly accessible at retail (that’s kind of their point), the reclamation of flawed products could become a new trend in and of itself.

Dust off the damage
This past Earth Day, eBay announced a buzzy bet into the world of thrift.

  • eBay Imperfects is a segment of the online marketplace that is dedicated to selling items that are slightly damaged or have obvious flaws, like missing buttons or scuff marks.
  • Vogue Business reports that eBay has partnered with over 100 brands, including Off-White and The North Face, on the venture, offering items for up to 60% off the retail price with 30-day returns and free shipping.

The company hopes that Imperfects will keep up to 13 million pieces of clothing out of landfills each week. Who knew we were dumping that much…

The thrift shift
eBay’s move into secondhand fashion makes perfect sense — the company’s 2022 Recommerce Report found that 34% of the company’s customers said, “environmental concerns and a hope to reduce waste as their main motivator for shopping on the site, following financial savings.” With Imperfects, customers now have a chance to do both, getting a chance to buy pieces that would never make it to market otherwise.

Imperfects is part of a larger trend of making the industry more sustainable and less wasteful, especially among Gen Z consumers. Secondhand fashion sites like Poshmark, thredUp, and Depop (which even attracted Olivia Rodrigo to open the Sour Shop) have become a bonafide phenomenon, while big retail brands like Urban Outfitters have all opened their own thrift platforms.

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