Interview with Claire Kent (luxury goods advisor and non-executive director at Prada S.A )

Q: The luxury vintage trend is proving popular with younger consumers. Do you think that young people rejecting fast fashion is also boosting purchases of new luxury items?

Claire Kent: The luxury vintage trend is extremely popular with some younger consumers for many reasons – but primarily because many care about the environment and hence about being sustainable. Second hand fashion is also more affordable and enables young customers to buy luxury brands that they would otherwise not be able to afford. Such customers are still buying fast fashion because luxury vintage does not fulfil all their needs, especially for basic items. However, they are more conscious of the damage fast fashion can do to the environment and this makes them fortunately less reliant on it.

In answer to your question, luxury vintage has made young customers more familiar with luxury brands that they might be able to afford in the future. In my mind it’s the modern day equivalent of buying the designer fragrance from the brand that you might be able to afford in the future as your career develops.


Q: Do you think that being able to buy luxury and luxury vintage products on ecommerce sites and digital marketplaces is encouraging more sales to young digitally-savvy buyers?

Claire Kent: Yes, absolutely. Consumers have always been interested in vintage and second-hand but ecommerce and digital marketplaces have made the second hand market scaleable. This is because it doesn’t matter which part of the world a certain vintage item is available in. With ecommerce and digital marketplaces, you can still get your hands on that item. This is what is so different from the way vintage stores operated in the past.

In fact, we are going full circle because many companies that started life as digital marketplaces are now opening stores, simply because it is easier for sellers to drop off items and receive a quote instantly. Stores also enable digital marketplaces to get their names in front of a different type of shopper.


Q: If Gen Z consumers are seeing the unique value in luxury items do you think they also should protect them through insurance?

Claire Kent: If you own an expensive luxury item, it always makes sense to protect it through insurance. However, it’s always worth investing the time prior to taking out your insurance to check which sort of incidents you will be covered for.


Q: How influential do you think Gen Z buyers are on the sale of luxury items in Asia? How big is the GenZ/Y market for vintage luxury in Asia (ex China)

Claire Kent: There are many important Gen Z influencers in Asia, such as Mr Bags and Gogoboi, being two of the most successful. Surprisingly vintage luxury is considerably more developed in the US and Europe than in Asia right now. Historically some Asian customers avoided second hand items for a number of reasons including superstitions, negative associations linked to poverty and fear of purchasing counterfeit items. However, habits are now changing and second-hand and vintage are becoming very popular there.


Q: In your view should luxury brands partner with services such as digital insurance platforms like KoverNow?

Claire Kent: Increasingly Gen Z luxury consumers want a seamless and frictionless shopping experience. Some of the brands that are performing most strongly provide this. So it makes sense for luxury brands to offer consumers insurance as an option when they make a purchase.


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