Luxury re-commerce platform, Luxe.It.Fwd, has uncovered some surprising insights about the fashion items languishing in the back of Australian wardrobes.

After surveying more than 1,000 women, the results indicated that the average Australian woman owns five handbags that they haven’t used in the last year. Incredibly, 51% of those handbags have only been worn once, and 46% have never been worn.

As a result, Luxe.It.Fwd is launching a call to arms to make luxury fashion attainable and sustainable. Founder, Miranda Gillespie, says the results reflect the need for a shift in consumer sentiment and the way we shop.

“Overconsumption of new fashion is undoubtedly wreaking havoc on the planet,” she says. “Luxe.It.Fwd is determined to change this by facilitating and advancing a circular fashion economy that eliminates unnecessary waste and promotes the re-use of quality pieces, rather than limited-use fast fashion.”

“Not only do owners of luxury handbags have an opportunity to make money off the pieces they have tucked away in their wardrobes, but they are also lessening the impact on the planet.”

Each unused handbag on average takes approximately 57.5kg of CO2 to produce, the equivalent of the CO2 emissions from charging 6,994 smartphones. Having rehomed more than 10,000 unwanted handbags, watches, and accessories since 2016 – equating to approximately 575 tons of CO2 that have been offset – Luxe.It.Fwd has softened the environmental impact within the fashion industry by not only extending the lifecycle for these items and reducing excess waste but by decreasing the demand and therefore production of new items.

The company’s mission is to offset 5,750 tonnes of CO2 by rehoming 100,000 unwanted fashion items by 2030 – a goal that seems achievable considering resale is projected to be bigger than fast fashion by 2029.

I recently had a chat with CEO Miranda Gillespie about all things fashion and the story behind Luxe.It.Fwd.

What inspired the idea for Luxe.It.Fwd? 

The idea actually came out of personal need! At the time I had been looking at buying a pre-owned Chanel handbag but was frustrated at not being able to find any great online sites in Australia that were trustworthy in terms of authenticity and had a great selection of items. The only real option at the time was purchasing from overseas resale sites however then there is a more than 15% markup in import costs to get it shipped to Australia, so that wasn’t a great option either. So that sparked the idea for me that I myself should create an online luxury resale business that ticks all of those boxes for what I was looking for as a shopper myself.

Who would you say is your prime clientele?

Women who are lovers of luxury fashion!

The second-hand luxury market now makes owning a luxury handbag so much more accessible for anyone who is a lover of luxury fashion and therefore our clientele range from university students to young mothers through to more mature women – we see the full range.

Why do you think the second-hand luxury market has expanded so much? 

I think that younger customers in particular are so savvy nowadays and often don’t see the value in buying luxury new if they could potentially save thousands of dollars by buying an excellent pre-owned version instead. There’s been a real shift in mindset over the last decade in particular whereby buying luxury fashion second-hand is so normalised and mainstream now, together with the continued rise in popularity of online shopping makes the second-hand luxury market accessible no matter where a customer is compared to having to physically go into a luxury boutique to purchase new as certain brands require.

As most women know, running a business isn’t as easy as it looks in the media, what would you say is your secret to success? 

Running a business is indeed an incredible amount of work with an endless list of tasks to complete. I have a really big focus on efficiency and also avoiding procrastination, so I’m always implementing measures to ensure I’m getting through work as efficiently as possible to work smarter not longer. In particular, I try to focus on the hardest tasks straight up in the morning when my brainpower is at maximum levels and deal with more admin-type tasks in the afternoon which aren’t as tricky. I find this strategy really helps me to get a lot done in a day.

If you had to pick one, which luxury bag would you say is the ultimate classic? 

I’m a big lover of practicality in fashion and therefore I would have to pick the Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag. It is an amazingly spacious tote crafted from Louis Vuitton’s signature canvas which is incredibly durable meaning you don’t need to be gentle with it and it will still last for many years.

So not only a beautiful bag to look at but practical and durable – which ticks all of my boxes as the ultimate bag!