What Shopping Trend Appeals To 87% Of All New Zealanders Right Now?

Hint: it’s not new, in fact, it’s second-hand.

We asked New Zealand fashion darling Juliette Hogan to give us the scoop on TradeMe’s push to encourage even more Kiwis to shop second-hand, and to tell us why circularity is so important in fashion right now.

With 87% of Kiwis shopping secondhand in the past six months, according to new data from Trade Me, it’s evident that pre-loved is in now, more than ever. To help sellers cash in from their closets, Trade Me is opening a pop-up store in Tāmaki Makaurau where Kiwi can give their garments a refresh and get them auction-ready.

The pop-up has been launched alongside Trade Me’s annual Circular Economy Report which has revealed that the average Kiwi has around 11 pieces of clothing they no longer want or wear, which could make them $300 by decluttering their wardrobes.

The report also found that the secondhand market has seen an 11 per cent increase in purchases since 2019, with the cost of living motivating more Kiwi to shop secondhand. Almost half (43%) of people who have items to clear out agree that the rising cost of living has made them buy more secondhand items –  a 3% increase when compared to 2022.

But what about a designer’s view on where their new items end up, and what can they do to encourage a circular life for their seasonal collections, even if they also want to encourage customers to buy newness?  FashioNZ publisher, Murray Bevan, interviewed local designer Juliette Hogan to discuss her background in fashion, growing up on a farm, her views on climate change, fast fashion, and what circularity in fashion means to her.

MB: I first met you as a young designer who turned up on my doorstep with a bunch of samples, fresh back from New York City where you studied at Parsons.  You even lived on a farm with your parents back then! How did your early years form your appreciation for sustainability and circularity?

JH: My early years certainly had a huge impact on my views are sustainability and circularity. Mum made all our clothes at a time when clothing was really expensive. Mum even used to make us woollen sweaters from start to finish: raising the sheep, shearing the wool, dyeing with homemade natural dyes (onion skins and gorse flowers). She would spin the wool and then knit into jumpers. Not quite the fine NZ merino yarn that we use in our designs today, yet wonderful (if not slightly scratchy) wabi-sabi works of art to be cherished.

From a young age, I learned the value of creating my own clothes and the dedication it takes to craft something by hand. Each piece I made had a specific purpose because it was created with care and intention.

Spending time in nature as I grew up also taught me the importance of caring for and preserving the land. This mindset has always been a part of who I am, guiding me to make sustainable choices before it became a popular trend.

Partnering with Trade Me  in support of their Second Hand Spin activation provides us with a platform to align and amplify our message of sustainability and circularity with a larger audience. This opportunity allows us to spread awareness and inspire others to make conscious choices for the planet.

MB:  When you were studying fashion design in New Zealand and New York in the early 2000s, how much importance was placed on sustainability and circularity in fashion, and how does that compare to the industry’s focus on it in 2024?

JH: The fashion industry has evolved significantly, with the rise of fast fashion giants like Shein magnifying sustainability concerns to an unprecedented level. Our customers are now demanding greater transparency, a demand that we are proud to meet.

I appreciate the current climate for its new openness, allowing us to not only celebrate our successes but also acknowledge the challenges we face in the sustainable fashion space. Perfection is not the goal; continuous improvement is. Every small change contributes to the larger goal of sustainability. It’s a journey, not a destination, and being receptive to new opportunities is key.

Interestingly, during interviews for positions within our business, candidates consistently express their desire to work for a values-driven company like ours. The appeal of aligning with a company that prioritizes ethics and sustainability has transitioned from a mere preference to a standard criteria in the job search process.

MB:  As a designer, it must be hard to constantly be inspired by newness – naturally you must often look back in time at past fashion trends.  How does your appreciation of vintage fashion inform your current designs?

JH:  As a brand known for our timeless and enduring designs, we of course draw inspiration from our extensive archives, which span over 20 years of our brand’s history. This approach allows us to evolve our unique aesthetic while maintaining a sense of continuity and timelessness in our current designs. We look to our rich heritage to create pieces that stand the test of time and reflect the essence of our brand. We are not about reinvention, but evolution.

MB:  How do you personally ensure longevity in your wardrobe?

JH:  To ensure sure I’m creating a wardrobe that lasts, I prioritise creating designs with long life in mind, focusing on both quality construction and timeless aesthetics. I also only incorporate pieces into my wardrobe that I love, that i know i will reach for time and time again. I take good care of them by washing and storing them properly. When something needs fixing, repair it! We offer free repairs for all JH garments, showing our commitment to the quality of our garments and working towards keeping clothes in use for as long as possible.

MB:   Do you ever thrift shop, and if so, what are the kinds of items you look for and why?

JH:  Only really for furniture and design items. I believe that just because something is no longer loved by someone doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be loved in the future. When I look for second-hand items, I specifically seek trusted brands or designers, as well as pieces that have stood the test of time. I appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that goes into these items, and by giving them a new home, I can continue to appreciate their beauty and functionality.

Secondhand Spin is open to the public from 2-3 March from 10:00AM – 4:00PM at 242 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland. Limit 1-2 garments or accessories, per person.

Visit Secondhand Spin for more information.