Getting The Best Fashion, Secondhand
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
But let's just say it hasn't been quite 30 years and you're over that jacket and want to try something else. Arun Gupta has an answer for that. His company grailed.com is a consignment website for high-end menswear. It allows fashionable men to buy and sell their clothes to each other. He joined us from New York, and I started by asking who he thinks is in that target audience.
ARUN GUPTA: You know, in the past five to 10 years, starting with the sort of metrosexual male movement, we've had this sort of resurgence of men's fashion. And I think that now it's becoming more mainstream and more sociably acceptable for men to care more about the clothes that they wear - you know, where they're made, how they look, how they fit. And I think that, you know, that's really what we tap into it is just sort of this, like, male fashion enthusiast community that is rapidly growing right now.
MARTIN: One of the reasons that we found this story interesting is that you remember at this year's Oscars, Chris Rock joked that the reason that men never get asked what their wearing is because men's fashion is boring.
GUPTA: You know, I think that's been true so far. You know, but I think right now it's happening that - it's just more exciting things are happening. Like, if you look at the number of new fashion designers that have come out in the last five years for men, like, the number is going. You talk about Haider Ackermann and John Elliott and just all these, like, sort of niche people who are getting, like, mainstream followings.
MARTIN: What do you think this site does that something like eBay doesn't do?
GUPTA: You know, eBay has been around for a long time. And because of that, they have a lot of positive connotations and a lot of negative connotations. And I think what we're trying to do with this site is say hey, you know, forget all the corporateness (ph) of it. Let's just do a curated community marketplace. And I think that what our site does specifically is reduce the cost that it takes to get into men's fashion. So if I'm a guy, you know, I have a regular job and I'm just, you know, saying oh hey, maybe I do want to get something from Balmain or, you know, one of these, like, luxury houses. I can't spend a thousand dollars on a pair of pants. That's just crazy. But what I can do is spend $300 on a pair of pants on, you know, grailed.com. And then let's say in a month I get these pants and, you know, they're not actually my style I, can resell them for $300 on grailed.com again. So it makes the risk for men to get in to men's fashion a lot lower than it used to be previously.
MARTIN: And when you say curated, does that mean you reject people's stuff from the Gap?
GUPTA: So we actually have a separate basic section. So we have two sections on the website...
MARTIN: Oh basic, excuse me.
GUPTA: Well, basics...
MARTIN: Excuse me...
GUPTA: ..You know, just like...
GUPTA: ...Filler stuff, like, not everybody has - you know, you can't afford to have, you know, really expensive pieces for the entirety of your wardrobe. And everybody needs to fill out, you know, the t-shirts and the pants - you know, the everyday type of thing.
MARTIN: Well, why do you - what do you think it says that a site like this is successful at this particular point in our history? I was wondering if part of the reason that people are attracted to it is - in part it's environmental. I mean, people are becoming aware of the cost of throwing stuff out.
GUPTA: You know, that's a huge thing. I think that people are really starting to say, like, hey, let's not fill up landfills anymore, you know? Like, we're running out of space to put our garbage. Like, let's try to be more environmentally friendly.
MARTIN: I'm going to prove Chris Rock wrong. Arun, what are you wearing - or who are you wearing?
GUPTA: I'm actually wearing some Saint Laurent jeans. I'm wearing these made-in-Japan all-natural sneakers called Hender Schemes. And I'm wearing a Balmain t-shirt.
MARTIN: I don't even know what those things are (laughter). Tweet us a picture.
MARTIN: Tweet us a picture - @NPRMichel so we can see what you're wearing, even - especially your shoes.
GUPTA: Yeah, definitely.
MARTIN: Arun Gupta is the founder of grailed.com. It's a high-end men's consignment website. He joined us from New York. Thanks so much for joining us.
GUPTA: All right, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.