Personal stylists are no longer just for the rich and famous. Gen Z and young millennials on TikTok and Instagram are paying amateur stylists hundreds of dollars to put together personalized second-hand clothing collections, also known as “style boxes.”

Secondhand fashion is growing in popularity among teens and twentysomethings, but thrift store shopping or “thrifting” isn’t always easy. Finding clothes that are the right size, style, and quality can be time-consuming, and many people don’t have a knack for it. That’s why secondhand fashion stylists are marketing their services on social media to handle the job. In an age of overnight delivery and instant gratification, the trend underscores young consumers’ desire for more personalized service and underscores the shift away from fast fashion brands towards sustainable fashion.

The fashion box concept went viral on social media, and demand for the service grew. For example, the hashtag #stylebox has been viewed more than 9.1 million times on TikTok.

KG Lillian, a stylist with more than 776,000 followers on TikTok, started selling styling boxes less than a year ago, but had to shut down her inbox due to an influx of inquiries from potential clients.

“I get over a thousand inquiries a day and it’s just email. I also get more information in comments and direct messages on TikTok and Instagram,” says Lillian wealth. “I get thousands of people contacting me every day. I shut it down and get back to working with the team on how to better prepare for the volume of interest.”

The process of hiring a stylist varies. Customers who buy a box from Lillian begin by filling out a lengthy form describing their style and personality, answering questions about their favorite colors and patterns, favorite bands and seasons, and listing what they don’t like buying. fabric or style. Customers can also request clothing for specific events like honeymoons or music festivals.

Lillian, 29, who lives in Austin, said her foray into the fashion box world was an “organic, community-driven experience.” Starting in early 2020, she built a small community of frugal enthusiasts on Instagram, then posted videos on TikTok. As the videos grew in popularity, people started asking her to buy them. The stylebox concept already existed at the time, but as TikTok demand grew, she began experimenting with offering it as a service herself. Before that, Lillian worked as a bank teller by day and a member of an indie pop band by night.

Lillian has completed about 100 boxes. Previously, these styles of boxes contained between three and 15 items and started at $300, then went up based on specific customer add-ons and requests, such as if the box was tailored for a specific event, with a quick turnaround, she said. Building these collections takes up much of Lillian’s time, but most of her income comes from brand deals as a social media influencer. Lillian declined to share the income from her fashion box business.

The opposite of instant gratification

To some, $300 or more may seem like a lot for a box of thrift store clothes, but filling a box of styles can take months of searching through multiple stores.Lillian She shops for clients nearly every weekday, but depending on the day, finding the right item can be a hit and miss.

“I’m really aware that it’s a slow process and it’s hard to predict when I’ll be able to finish it because I don’t want to force something into a box that doesn’t belong there or doesn’t feel like it. Great for clients”, Lillian explain.

She added: “A part of me is fighting against the instant, instant gratification culture because the service here is the exact opposite. Patience is part of it.”

That’s part of the appeal.

Lillian said she grew up enjoying thrift shopping because of financial need, so she got the idea to hire a personal stylist — who can charge from anywhere. $100 to $300 per hour— seems out of reach, almost a “mythical” concept. But the pre-owned clothing included in these style boxes is more affordable, somewhat broadening access to previously exclusive services. Still, it remains an expensive luxury that many cannot afford.

“I think what people really want is an experience that’s customized, personalized, and tailored to them,” Lillian said.

vote with wallet

Fashion box is another way for young people “Vote with your wallet” By buying from brands that support social causes they are passionate about, in this case keeping their business away from brands that don’t.

In response to the effects of global warming, some Gen Zers and millennials are trying to limit the amount of new clothing they buy from big fast-fashion brands like Shein, Forever 21, Uniqlo, H&M and Zara. Instead, some people buy second-hand clothes or clothes with environmental sustainability in mind.According to a 2022 report, the global resale market is estimated to be worth between $100 billion and $120 billion, almost tripling since 2020 Report In collaboration with Boston Consulting Group and Vestiaire Collective.

Buying a second piece of clothing can reduce carbon emissions and water waste, as well as save energy. According to a 2023 report, if every consumer bought a second-hand garment instead of a new one, it would save more than 2 billion pounds of carbon emissions, 23 billion gallons of water, and 4 billion kilowatt-hours of energy. threadingan online consignment and thrift store.

For some shoppers, buying a thrift store-style box is more than just a transaction. Lillian says it can also be an emotional investment based on the customer’s life situation.

“I made some boxes to reaffirm the gender identity journey. I do it for people who are trying to find love for themselves again, for postpartum bodies, for people who have just come out of an abusive relationship and just want to rediscover themselves, for Clients celebrating milestones like honeymoons made boxes,” she said. “So people opt for boxes for all sorts of personal reasons, but the coolest part about this service is that it’s bigger than clothes.”

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