Looking for secondhand luxury bags or fashion in Singapore? Your hunt is over — literally. Sabrina Joseph shares her journey to building preloved designer marketplace HuntStreet and how they champion circular fashion, stylishly.
It’s no secret that the secondhand fashion industry is booming and thrifting, swapping and renting are trending more than ever. According to a recent report by thredUP, the secondhand market is set to hit $64 billion within the next five years, with demand for resale leading the way in all areas—even from sustainable fashion designers.
Secondhand luxury bags and clothing have become a huge part of the resale movement in Asia. Not only is buying a preloved item more affordable than buying new, many are pristine and have great resale value. This was a big realisation behind the vision of one of the industry’s fastest-growing startups: secondhand luxury marketplace HuntStreet.
Founded in 2015, HuntStreet provides a curated space for anyone to both buy and sell secondhand branded bags, shoes, clothes and more. When the platform first launched in Indonesia, there were very few online spaces to find secondhand luxury goods. Naturally, it has since grown to become one of the countries largest resale platforms.
Having recently expanded to Singapore’s shores, we caught up with HuntStreet co-founder Sabrina Joseph in their Henderson Road-based showroom. We chatted about their launch in the little red dot, how secondhand fashion is a solution to throwaway culture and her tips for shopping luxury brands more wisely.
Hi Sabrina! Tell us more about your personal relationship with fashion and journey to HuntStreet.
To me, fashion is simpler than we think. It’s what we wear to the supermarket, to exercise, to go to work, to meet with friends. So as exciting as my relationship with fashion is, it really comes down to being comfortable and expressing myself.
Prior to launching HuntStreet, I’d become uncomfortable with the amount of clothes, shoes and bags I had accumulated over time. What’s more, I didn’t have any avenues to declutter. I couldn’t find a trusted platform to pass on and recirculate the items I no longer loved or needed. That’s what sparked the inspiration for the platform!
You first launched HuntStreet in Indonesia. What motivated you to expand into Singapore last year?
Growth in Indonesia has been great, and I believe this will continue. It has a large market size and a rising younger, more environmentally conscious population. Not only does HuntStreet provide great value for quality but we offer a more conscious, sustainable choice for those wanting to buy luxury designs.
During the pandemic, our customer service team in Indonesia received many enquiries from our Singapore customers, who were vigorously decluttering at home as lockdown hit mid-2020. As these requests piled up, it became natural for us to set up operations locally to better serve our Singapore community of buyers and sellers.
One big stigma surrounding secondhand luxury fashion is the fear of fake goods. How does HuntStreet go about verifying authenticity?
We’re an independent platform connecting prospective buyers and sellers looking to transact luxury items. However, we understand the risks involved and concerns people may have when purchasing high value branded goods. As such, we’ve always been focused on making sure our customers experience only safe, legitimate transactions. We do this via our HuntStreet Buyer Protection programme, which guarantees quality control and authenticity of items purchased through our platform. We also only dispatch a seller’s items to a buyer once payment has been received.
All items sold through our marketplace go through a stringent process of 4-step quality control and verification to ensure that items are indeed as represented by sellers in their listings. Our team of experienced in-house appraisers have the industry know-how and are well-equipped with the technology to detect counterfeit items.
Do you feel attitudes toward secondhand consumption are changing in Asia?
Yes I do. For example, though vintage stores have always been around, when we first launched 7 years ago it wasn’t easy to convince people to use the platform. Over the years, as environmental issues become more widely broadcasted, people finally see that choosing secondhand, pre-owned or vintage is one of the most sustainable choices you can make.
What does sustainability and circularity mean at HuntStreet?
From a buyer’s perspective, it’s essentially discovering unwanted treasures from someone’s awesome wardrobe. From the selling side, think of it as recycling. Instead of items being deconstructed and made new into something else (which means even more carbon footprint), it is simply passed onto someone else. The whole process becomes circular and saves resources: nothing gets wasted and nothing gets destroyed.
“Over the years, as environmental issues become more widely broadcasted, people finally see that choosing secondhand, pre-owned or vintage is one of the most sustainable choices you can make.”
Tell us about your personal favourites brands or products.
I love surprises. Because our source of items comes from individuals’ wardrobes, we really never know what our new arrivals will be. Our warehouse (also our showroom—which we’re sitting in!) is really a melting pot of so many different styles and eras. We have old and new Celine. We have Louis Vuitton from both Virgil Abloh and Marc Jacobs era, Hermes from Martin Margiela and Jean Paul Gaultier, and so on. Our team has many ‘blast from the past’ moments on a day-to-day basis, it’s difficult to pinpoint one particular favourite!
Finally, what would your advice be to those who love fashion, but want to purchase more mindfully?
I would say, choose wisely, whatever you’re buying. Be conscious about how much wear you’ll get out of something. If you can’t see yourself wearing it at least 30 times, don’t buy it. If you can, make sure the item can last many washes—many fast fashion items don’t. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you bought something on impulse. Just be conscious about how you let these items go and rehome thoughtfully. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Psst: exclusively for the month of September, ZERRIN reader’s can take $25 off any minimum purchase of $150 at HuntStreet (excluding delivery). Use code ZERRIN25 at their online checkout. Valid until 30 September 2022.
Susannah believes better design can help create a brighter future. A former magazine editor, she now runs ZERRIN and works at the intersection of consumers, brands and sustainability advocacy.