‘As much as I love Depop, it triggers me’: is body image a fashion disruptor’s final frontier? | Fashion

CIt’s a marketer’s dream to get the attention of the discerning Millennial and Gen Z crowds. It is a dream that Depop, a platform for buying and selling used clothes and handmade clothes, will be realized rapidly.

The UK-based virtual flea market was launched in Australia about a year ago and is currently estimated to enroll about a quarter of Australians between the ages of 15 and 29. It’s more than a million young people who are attracted to the message of eco-friendly fashion, wrapped in a painfully cool influencer aesthetic.

CEO Maria Raga declared Depop’s mission is to “confuse fashion in the same way Spotify did with music, or in the same way Airbnb did with travel accommodation.”

Screenshot of Australia’s Depop Explore page. Photo: Depop

Depop has addressed fast fashion pollution practices by promoting cyclical consumption and promised to be fully carbon-neutral by the end of the year on January 29, 2021. In a statement, Raga said: “Fashion and creating a better future for ourselves is a common goal not only for Depop, but for everyone. Our plan is the first step towards that future and Depop is the best in the world. It will be the home of diverse and progressive fashion. “

However, Depop’s popularity isn’t limited to sustainability marketing. The app is very similar to Instagram, where users create visual profiles to blur the line between buyers and sellers (60% of users do both) and are especially easy to browse “social shopping”. You can win the model. ..

However, large social platforms face questions about the communities they promote, so Depop hasn’t escaped the model baggage it pulls out. For many users, the Depop browsing experience is not as diverse as the ambitions expressed by the platform.

Jasmine, a 19-year-old user in Brisbane, said: “I think this is a great service, but it comes at a price. It sounds like a bad thing about Instagram, but it’s in Depop.”

Jasmine noticed that he was scrolling endlessly through Depop’s Explore page. This is a carefully selected list of items for sale, focusing on “slender, white, female models”, not on clothes, but on who is wearing them.

Jasmine is not alone with body dysmorphic disorder. Imogen, an 18-year-old seller in New South Wales, said, “As someone who suffers from eating disorders as much as I love Depop, I personally trigger me in several ways. “Is called. Especially after spending time on the app.

In subreddits and Facebook groups, sellers confess that their relationship with Depop influences their well-being and body image, saying, “Does anyone else feel that their body is not enough for Depop? I am writing a post like “?”. And “my body never has that” depop aesthetic “.” last year, Petition initiated by a coalition of US-based sellers Depop claimed that it was “not a comprehensive or supportive place for plus-size sellers.” Other users have complained on Twitter that their relationship with the app is “toxic” to varying degrees of severity.

Jasmine, a depop user who sells artwork on the platform and uses it to buy vintage dresses.
Jasmine, a depop user who sells artwork on the platform and uses it to buy vintage dresses. Photo: Included

Many complaints include direct cases of rudeness or harassment, such as offensive comments or direct messages. Well-documented issues (There is also an Instagram account dedicated to strange interactions, @depopdrama Has over 500,000 followers).

Depop states that he is willing to mitigate this behavior. “We take an absolute zero approach to all kinds of predatory or abusive behavior … a dedicated trust and safety team uses machine learning scripts to abusive and abusive behavior. We will actively monitor and detect this more quickly and efficiently, “says Aria Wigneswaran, Australian General Manager of Depop.

But for users like Jasmine, the question isn’t the bad Apple users, but how buying and selling makes them feel. And that’s “a really tricky problem … and we want to make sure it’s solved,” says Wigneswaran.

Depop told Guardian Australia that it actively promoted physical, racial and ethnic diversity. For Explore pages that are manually curated rather than algorithmically curated, quotas aim for 30% diversity. It says it encourages users to report harassment within the app and aims to respond to 95% of reports within 3 hours.

However, it is very difficult to detect the user’s internal experience. “I can’t predict how people will interpret it. [an image]Natalie Hendry, a researcher at RMIT’s social media and youth mental health, said:

According to Hendry, the struggle of depop users is a social issue that is amplified by adding commerce to the mix. “Whenever visibility is a requirement for success, eating disorders and body image problems occur,” she says.

According to the Depop Seller Guide, “Model photos” (photos of someone wearing clothes) are 60% more likely to sell clothes. This sets Depop apart from apps like Etsy and eBay. The app is more likely to display clothes on hangers, mannequins, and flat floors rather than on the seller’s body or the model hired. “That’s the stats, that’s the reality,” Wigneswaran said of the seller’s guidelines. “But that doesn’t mean you need to do that,” she explained, adding that many of the platform’s top sellers present their stores without modeling their clothes.

The rewards of becoming a successful depop seller are high.The tale of Depop Millionaire,and A shortcut to influencer fameIs a particularly attractive outlook for the first generation, 30 years after adulthood in a recession.

Mihaira Simpson, 23, and Ursula Cash, 27, run a butch / femme plus-size pop-up store @xanthesdad, which they started after losing their job at the start of the pandemic. They are just the diverse users of the kind of body that Depop wants to attract. Pairs say their experience is empowering and financially successful in most cases.

However, there are drawbacks. “The way it was designed … just doesn’t benefit creators who are trying to make it really unseen,” said Simpson, who feels her visibility in the app is more limited. Say as a larger size seller. “We commented on our body,” Cash adds. “We get rid of it, move along it, and don’t give it space or time.”

Mikhaila Simpson and Ursula Cash are staring at Depop's own shop called Xanthe's Dad.
Mikhaila Simpson and Ursula Cash have a shop in Depop called Xanthe’s Dad. Photo: Curly Earl / Guardian

“If the platform violates the operational goal of allowing people to sell clothes and save money, it’s hard to take responsibility,” says Hendry. “Can the market solve problems that are bigger than the market?”

Jenny L. Davis, a lecturer in sociology at the Australian National University, is skeptical. She says technology can’t get people to do things, but it can “reward those who protect the values ​​of the community.” “If the community’s values ​​come from a lean body-loving culture … Given this reward structure, it makes sense for young women on the platform to feel the pressure to adapt.”

“In the case of Depop … the app designer may not have intended this result,” says Davis. “More likely, they … designed to maximize profits … not taking into account the influence of the people whose bodies are exhibited.”

Users such as Jasmine, Imogen, Simpson and Cash can always redeem for a non-body-focused clothing resale app. But in this sense, Depop is a victim of its own success. Despite their problems, they all enjoy the creativity of store styling and are committed to ethical fashion consumption. Depop feels like the best platform to meet these needs.

“These are big challenges,” says Hendry. “When depops disappear from the planet, they will not be dismantled.”

Adapting to the digital landscape, becoming more sustainable and truly embracing diversity are three of the biggest challenges facing the fashion industry in 2021. Depop comes before the first two, but despite its own hope, the final hurdle is the hardest.

‘As much as I love Depop, it triggers me’: is body image a fashion disruptor’s final frontier? | Fashion Source link ‘As much as I love Depop, it triggers me’: is body image a fashion disruptor’s final frontier? | Fashion

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