Depop, a fashion marketplace app for peer-to-peer purchasing, has completely changed the way in which Gen Z shops. With new emphasis placed on sustainable fashion, Depop has become increasingly popular since it was founded. It allows ordinary people to buy and sell their own clothes easily, while also providing a platform that others may use to create small businesses out of selling fashion items, maybe hand-made or thrifted, online. With Gen Z being especially wedded to sustainable fashion, there is no denying that Depop has had a massive impact on the way the Generation shops.


The London-based company, founded in 2011 by Simon Beckerman, was recently bought by Etsy in the summer of 2021 for $1.625 billion. The app saw exponential growth in the lockdown of 2020. While the app had under 1 million active users in the UK as of January 2020, by October 2021 it had more than 2 million. Ultimately, this is due to the fact that in 2020 sustainable fashion and buying second-hand became trendy, and even those who were already on the ‘bandwagon’ were unable to visit thrift stores or charity shops.

Etsy, the now owner of Depop, was founded in 2005 with a similar aim. It too centred around e-commerce but was more so catered to buying and selling a variety of items, rather than specifically clothing. Even eBay, a similar company to Etsy, saw the success of second-hand clothes shopping among Gen Z, and launched a campaign with the popular TV show ‘Love Island’ in the summer or 2022. While Love Island had previously been sponsored by fast-fashion brands such as Boohoo, in 2022 they made this significant shift. The eBay sponsorship centred around ‘pre-loved fashion’ and encouraged viewers to buy second hand, playing into Gen Z’s love for sustainable fashion. Research by eBay revealed that those aged 18 to 34 have the highest average percentage of second-hand clothes in their wardrobe (22%). Other brands are now starting to evolve in line with the generation’s commitment to sustainability, with PrettyLittleThing and Zara both launching second hand marketplaces in 2022, while Selfridges launched ‘ReSelfridges’ in 2020.

Over 30 million people have now signed-up to Depop. It proudly states that over 90% of its active users are below 26 years old, showing it is certainly popular among Gen Z. So, why is this?  Well, with the effects of fast fashion being more talked about, young people of today care more and more about how they can use sustainable fashion to cut down their carbon emissions and try to reduce their contribution to the climate crisis. According to the Geneva Environment Network, ‘about 1% of crude oil production is used to produce synthetic fibres’, and therefore many young people feel it’s imperative that they shift to a more sustainable fashion footprint. Supposedly, three-quarters of Gen Z consumers state that sustainability is more important to them than brand names.  Depop allows Gen Z to care about both; you can still search for the brand names you desire, while buying good quality second-hand clothing.


Overall, it’s clear to see that Depop has only become more and more popular and has capitalised on Gen Z’s interest in sustainable fashion. In the coming years it’ll continue to grow in popularity as people continue to move away from fast fashion. Ultimately, Depop brings many advantages, encouraging people to buy second-hand and recycle clothing, allowing some to create small businesses and providing a new way for people to buy clothing from bigger brands for cheaper; all of this has changed the shopping culture of Gen Z for the better.