24 Feb Confessions of a Reseller: A Look into the Aftermarket of Clothing
In the last 30 some years, streetwear enthusiasts have transformed a seemingly niche market into a fully commercialized one.
Brands like Bape, Stussy, Supreme, and Nike draw from the cultural melting pot that is urbanity. Hypebeasts, skaters, and sneaker heads alike will cross the ends of the Earth in pursuit of coveted limited stock items. This has created a lucrative aftermarket for underground resellers and traders—resale items can potentially go for double or triple the original retail price.
I interviewed an elusive and, dare I say, dangerous friend that currently resells. For the sake of his and my own safety, he will be addressed as Chad and his identity will remain anonymous.
MUSE: How did you first enter the reselling business?
Chad: I think I first got into the reselling game maybe around grade 10 and 11, when Odd Future first started to blow up and all that stuff. I’m not gunna front and tell you that I knew about Supreme before Odd Future because I didn’t. In all honesty, Odd Future was the real reason I started skateboarding and buying Supreme.
MUSE: What brands do you resell?
Chad: I don’t have a particular brand I specifically resell, I usually just buy from brands I like. Supreme is one you already know, Palace is another popular one, sometimes I might grab a few Bape pieces here and there too, but not too much. If I’m just buying a piece of clothing for reselling purposes though, it’s probably something hype that I know can sell fast; big brand name collaborations usually are always the best for that, like Adidas x Palace, Supreme x Nike, etc.
MUSE: How do you organize the trades with the buyers?
Chad: Trades are more or less always a leap of faith in some sense. I don’t really like making trades online to other people that are across the world, unless I’ve been communicating with the same person for a while and they seem legit. How it works when we trade is we ship the same day and send tracking orders on the same day as well, just so we know that both of us are fulfilling our end of the deal. The only other people I trade to are locals around my city through social media.
MUSE: Supreme stores, for instance, aren’t located in Canada, so how do you make the initial purchases?
Chad: I always try to cop off the website and shit but honestly nowadays, with Supreme surcharge and shit, resellers don’t even sound so horrible. I got two resellers that I would say I’m on good terms [with] and give me decent deals, but I still spend a lot of time just searching the internet for steals. Sometimes you can just catch someone reselling for retail or under just because they want money or something else— those are always good to come up on.
MUSE: What do you think is the hype or appeal for clothing brands like Supreme or Jordans?
Chad: I don’t know what the appeal is man, I just fucking like that Supreme shit. It just looks cool, and their whole skater-centric aesthetic behind their brand is what really makes me fuck with them.
MUSE: Do you like the brands and wear them yourself? Or are you more focused on the business aspect of reselling?
Chad: Naw man, honestly I’m just a regular ass n**** when it comes to reselling stuff. At this point, I really just sell my clothes just so that I can buy more new clothes and stuff. If it’s really something I like, I try to hold on to it, but you know not every piece of clothing you buy is worth keeping sometimes.
MUSE: What do you think about the business model of limited edition items? Some would say the nature of the limited edition runs, limited accessibility, and collaborative projects is what creates the appeal, but also creates the market for resellers.
Chad: Those critics are just salty kids who couldn’t get their gear on drop day and don’t wanna pay resale. People can say all they want, but to be honest I don’t think companies are going to do shit about it, so why the fuck does it matter anyways?
MUSE: Could you describe the relationship between resellers and clothing brands? Are resellers a negative or positive force for brands?
Chad: I think they are probably more of a positive force on the industry than they are bad. As much as resellers are assholes for charging extra for certain items, they also somewhat level the playing field for everyone. High fashion and streetwear nowadays rely on the exclusivity and hype of an item. Now with resellers, they buy up a percentage of the stock just to be resold a lot of the times internationally, so it kind of just gives everyone the chance to get what they want…as long as they’re ready to drop some bands on it haha.
So there you have it. Are resellers ultimately going to be the cause of the global economic collapse? Only time will tell.
Julian Fraser, First Year Representative