In the 18th century, a honest man would have two suits, a white shirt, and a few fake collars made by a local tailor. Women's closets were more filled. In postwar times, the industrial production of consumption goods along the ready-to-wear revolution changed our habits and considerably shortened the time spent by our clothes in our closets. It's the beginning of the consumer society, clothes rapidly go out-of-style and are immediately discarded. Abbé Pierre and his companions will find in our bins what they need to dress the poorest, and will sell the remaining clothes through dedicated distribution networks.

    Profit corporations will professionalize this phenomenon by offering to brands to get rid of their stocks without affecting their distribution networks or their image. These discount stores exist in many professions where the stocks' value quickly declines because of the everchanging fashion trends and technology obsolescence, as it is the case for example in the telephony sector.

    In the 80's, creators and brands build their strategy around creation which has to be preserved like a work of art, and around a price which has to be guaranteed to the customers. In this perspective, the hype minimalist designer Yohji Yamamoto burnt in the presence of a Court bailiff unsold pieces from his collections. This episode did not last for long though.

    Faced with repeting crises, discount stores and their parallel distribution networks will become a major requirement for leading and minor brands which will have to find how to  dispose of their unsold stocks. Jacques-Antoine Granjon will have the idea to sell them far from France, on a continent which was then unknown to brands, the Internet. He founded the website Following the concept stores example, he will at the beginning of the 2.0 years, put for online sale all kinds of rather elitists consumption goods, and organize on his website one shot event sales with leading brands products available at a discounted price which can go up to seventy percent.

    The Luxury firms' sales forces were first wary of this new media and kept on turning a blind eye to discount stores, because of their low range perception. It is only a few years later that they will get involved in e-commerce.

    Just like concept stores, Jacques-Antoine adresses a community of customers selected through a sponsorship system, which did not keep millions of them who live in rich European countries and in the USA from following the website.

    His success led brands to rethink their online distribution model of their current collections but also to manufacture collections intented specifically to private sales.

    Such private sales existed in real life for twenty years, but they would take place only twice a year, at seasons' ends. They were reserved to journalists and a handful of happy few who could buy commercial and press samples in brands' showrooms or warehouses.

    Xavier Niel, founder of Free, the Internet access provider which has been slashing prices as well as his competitors' nerves to the bone, Jacques-Antoine Granjon, and Marc Simoncini founder of the online dating website Meetic, are the representatives of a pivot generation of entrepreneurs who set the tone for the new French economy which now relies on new technologies and affordable instantaneous consumption.

    Enjoying the opportunities brought by thirty years of financial and economic crises, they invented new consumption modes which take into consideration small costs savings, recycled in environmental principles and a fairer trade.

   More conspicuous than our parents' resale shops which were as embarrassing to visit as  sex shops, the communautary colossus eBay allows everyone to discretely get rid of old stuff or wedding gifts and earn some money.

    This new consumption mode has become a heavy trend thanks to the technology used and to the crisis, with the approval of the fashion press which has been promoting the phenomenon. Instead of throwing away their Zara or Yves Saint Laurent pieces, women, teenagers, and now men organize at their homes private sales of their clothes on the model of American yardsales. They provide these friendly sales with more visibility by sending text messages and emails to their connections and also by creating virtual events, on Facebook mostly.

    Thanks to the number of their followers and to brands who consistently provide their closets with products in exchange of some visibility, bloggers have become indispensable for the organization of these sales.

    Sometimes they simply trade them with friends, resorting to a primary barter economy which is emancipated from the social link constituted by money, thus making it a win-win situation.

    The website, which has recently become for international expansion purposes, has federated users of this new way of selling second hand clothes. It provided friendly e-commerce with a structure by favoring and guaranteeing deals between individuals: the website offers a wide visibility to the item sold thanks to its seven hundred thousands members, items are sent only after having been checked, and all these services are provided in exchange for a fee which is lower than the margins gained by professional retailers.

    As a result, resale and second hand shops have gained a certain popularity and flourish in fashion fields, as well as in decoration and technological devices sectors.

    When they are not traded or sold, our closets' clothes and accessories get a new lease in life: they become vintage not only by passing from grandparents to grandchildren, but also by a benevolent misuse of language when H&M clothes are traded among girl friends. Once cut, jeans experience a second youth and become shorts.

    Since they are romantic and thrifty, young women borrow their friend's clothes and call them Boyfriend pants, Boyfriend shirts or Boyfriend jackets. For men, tailor-making and half-measuring are fashionable again, even in Asia, and it is now a must to have your shirts' collars and cuffs altered.

    Today, fashion animals' clothes have seven lives and their wallets always fall on their feet.

Next chapter