High Demand, High Resale – A Positive Trend or an “Exclusivity Club”?

By Jordan Ukawoko

Streetwear and Its Resale Market
The resale market, particularly within the streetwear sector, has emerged as a significant sub-category
within streetwear, reshaping consumer habits and spending patterns. This investigation into the streetwear
resale market reveals its influence and the changes it has brought about in 2024 regarding consumer
behaviour and value.

“Hypebeast Culture”
Streetwear, known for its casual, comfortable clothing that draws inspiration from hip-hop, skateboarding,
and other subcultures, has always had a unique position in the fashion industry. Limited Edition releases
frequently sell out in minutes and are in high demand due to collaborations between high-profile brands
and artists. Due to the high demand and scarcity, there is a thriving resale market where products can
fetch prices up to several times their original retail value. For example, Travis Scott’s Jordan 4s frequently
sell out within minutes and are put on sites such as StockX in which resale prices are ten times higher
than the original price.
However, the second-hand market has enormous economic effects. First, it has made high-end fashion
more accessible to consumers. The resale market has made streetwear culture more accessible to a larger
audience and less exclusive to those with the means to buy new items. But there are drawbacks to this
kind of accessibility as well. The average consumer faces increasing costs as the demand for these items
rises and their resale value increases.

Shifts in Consumer Spending Habits
The increase in resale activity has also had an impact on consumer purchasing patterns. Now that
streetwear products are seen as investments, buyers are more likely to allocate a larger percentage of their
budget to clothes. Shopping habits have changed as a result of the idea that a limited edition piece may
hold or even increase in value over time. The fact that buyers are becoming increasingly selective and
frequently choose items with potential resale value has an impact on their general spending patterns.
The expansion of the resale market is also a sign of general economic patterns. With fast fashion
becoming less popular and sustainability and ethical shopping growing in popularity, the resale market
presents an appealing substitute. It encourages the approach of reusing clothes rather than discarding
them, which helps create a more sustainable fashion industry. Furthermore, it is now simpler than ever for
customers to interact with this economy thanks to the digital transformation of the resale market, which is
made possible by websites committed to the buying and selling of streetwear such as StockX and Depop.

Criticisms and Challenges
However, the resale market’s growth is not without criticism. Some claim that it minimises the artistic and
cultural significance of streetwear and instead promotes overconsumption and a cycle in which only the
most desired clothes are valued. Furthermore, those who genuinely value the culture but are unable to
afford the exorbitant costs may be excluded from the “club” due to the high prices in the resale market.
This creates a sort of a “hype beast” culture. An exclusivity club where only people who can afford these
limited pieces are allowed “in”.

We can end on a note that the streetwear resale market is a complicated trend that has altered consumer
behaviour and the economic landscape of the fashion industry. It presents challenges that correspond to
broader societal and economic trends, but it also presents new opportunities for participation and
investment in fashion. It will be interesting to watch how this market develops going forward and how it
affects consumer behaviour and the fashion industry as a whole in the future


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