For influencers who want to keep their clout, staying on top of the latest trends is critical. Many teens and influencers say they turn to Depop to see what’s bubbling up in fashion. New styles sometimes appear on the app months before they go viral on Instagram. Attendees at Depop LIVE said they spotted looks such as monochromatic outfits and stacks of barrettes on Depop way before they ever saw them on the streets or on Instagram. Khalid Mahmood Jr., a 19-year-old influencer who runs his own Depop store, said that the app is where many people in his network go to find one-of-a-kind merchandise. “As a 19-year-old, everybody knows about Depop,” he said. “It’s where everybody is selling and buying. You’ve got the high-end fashion. You’ve got the thrifted clothes.” “It’s like a personal catalog,” added his friend Liv Bonaparte, a 20-year-old from Atlanta.
Buying and selling clothes on Depop also helps influencers keep their feeds looking new. “We’re trying to look cool and fashionable and fresh all the time,” said Harry Hill, a social-media influencer in Brooklyn who attended Depop LIVE. “So if we can take a pic in a shirt one day and sell it the next, that move just ups your game on both platforms.”
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According to a 2015 study by Ernst & Young, Gen Z is more cost-conscious and more entrepreneurial than previous generations. That positions a resale app like Depop well in the youth market. Lily, a 12-year-old outside Depop LIVE who, like everyone else under the age of 18 in this story, is referred to by a pseudonym, said that she and her friends all buy clothes on Depop because it’s cheaper than shopping retail. Plus, they know they can resell their purchases on the app when they’re done. “My friends all sell and buy things on there,” added Allison, also 12 years old. “I bought custom Air Force 1s, a bunch of clothes, shirts and stuff … My friend is 13—she sells off all her old clothes so she can buy new clothes on there.”
As Depop gains a foothold, big social platforms are working harder to integrate shopping into their own products. Instagram recently launched a Checkout feature that allows users to shop the items featured in influencers’ posts directly within the app. Last fall, Pinterest also added new shopping options. Facebook introduced Marketplace, a Craigslist competitor, years ago, and Mark Zuckerberg said in May that the company plans to make it “as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo.”
But many of the big platforms’ shopping features are still in their infancy. Instagram Checkout, for example, is available only to a very small portion of brands and influencers, and it’s focused on sales of new, not used, clothing. That leaves Depop with a claim to a valuable corner of the influencer economy. “Instagram allows you to be your own billboard,” Hill said, “and Depop allows you to sell what you’re advertising.”
This post previously referred to Maria Raga as the founder of Depop. She is the CEO. We regret the error.