Garmology S01 E17: Will secondhand outsell fast fashion? – With Lewis Hull of Marrkt

Already up to episode 17 of the Garmology podcast, quite the rollercoaster output! I’m working my way down a long list of great guests, both confirmed and potential. In today’s episode, I talk to Lewis Hull of online reseller Marrkt. We talk about the business of reselling secondhand, used, pre-loved, premium and pre-loved high-end menswear on consignment, whether fashion is an aspect in this segment, the current state of the denim industry and whether quality, authentic clothes will outsell fast fashion.

Lewis has been through a few phases before ending up where he is now. Years back an interest in Japanese denim culminated in starting the legendary SuperDenim business in York. Importing rare denim from Japan expanded into specialist garms from the likes of the Real McCoys, pivoting into the heritage styles of Nigel Cabourn and even the homegrown oddness of Tender. The opportunity of running clearance sales developed into the Marrkt concept, where brands could easily offload their excess stock before a keen audience of buyers. Not unlike emptying a bucket of chum into a pool of sharks, in fact.

Lately, the focus has been on the Marrkt concept, taking on consignment sales from private sellers. This has been so successful that the other areas of business have been closed down. So will reselling existing secondhand and vintage clothes usurp the fast fashion throne, as has been suggested by some media? Just what sort of clothes are being bought and sold, and are there fashions within heritage menswear? All will be revealed.

Garmology is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and wherever else you usually find podcasts. Or even just listen here on the page. Or find all the episodes of the Garmology page!


  • Chris 22/08/2020 at 01:02

    As a customer of both Superdenim and Marrkt in the past this was an interesting interview. Were I living in the UK I’d likely use Marrkt myself to sell. Who knows, perhaps I’ll try it some day. It’s quite interesting to see how Marrkt has grown over the years and how they seemingly can command some of the prices they do, but then when you consider how he curates it from a condition standpoint it’s not all that surprising.

    Curious his remark about Nigel Cabourn selling better if they’d only mark it down 30%. On the one hand that may be the case, but on the other that’s a slippery slope and once you’re on it I suspect it’s hard to get off.

    • nick 07/09/2020 at 13:12

      To my mind, Marrkt charges pretty fair prices for what they sell. Considering how it is pre-checked and returnable, there are some great deals to be had. Personally I’d be more hesitant to sell stuff through the service, as although I’d avoid the possible posterior pain of dealing with buyers, the service is not free and once a chunk of cash is taken off the selling price by way of commission, the end result may not be great.

      As I understood it, the point about Cabourn was that if the prices had been a bit lower to start with, more would have sold at full retail and the brand wouldn’t be as known for being discounted. Makes a lot of sense to me, as clearly the retail prices of Cabourn have gone way beyond what seems relevant for what they make. It reminds me a lot about a case I observed a few years ago: The local football team reported that ticket sales were falling, so they were going to have to increase ticket prices to keep their finances healthy. Typical of spreadsheet jockeys. Did they consider halving the ticket cost, filling the stadium, bringing more life back to the proceedings?


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