Pre-owned fashion as sustainable consumerism? Opportunities and challenges in the Vietnam market

Lam Hong Lan*, Jeremy John Watkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify opportunities and challenges for small- to medium-sized pre-owned fashion enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam. While recent studies have identified the growth of pre-owned fashion in developed economies, pre-owned clothing remains negatively associated by some consumers with overseas charity donations of second-hand clothes to Vietnam, following the economic upheaval of the 1980s.

Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative data were collected via semi-structured in-depth interviews with founders and/or owners of pre-owned fashion SMEs (n = 5, aged 25–40 years) with physical stores located in Ho Chi Minh City alongside online retail platforms. All interviewees are significant industry and consumer influencers.

Findings: Younger Vietnamese consumers are motivated by (1) pre-owned fashion's value for money compared to buying new western branded luxury items and (2) the ability of pre-owned and vintage fashion to allow the wearer to create a unique personal style. While Vietnamese consumers and retailers associate “sustainable fashion” with various, often unrelated concepts, the impact of global and local discourse around sustainable fashion in the last five years has generally supported wider interest in pre-owned fashion.

Originality/value: This study contributes to the relatively modest pool of English-language research on the fashion and textiles industry in Vietnam, a global fast-fashion manufacturing hub. The findings advance understanding of how pre-owned fashion is growing as a high-end niche market despite significant supply chain restrictions as well as a lingering perception of pre-owned fashion as charitable donations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-594
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Issue number4
Early online date16 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2023


  • sustainable fashion
  • sustainable consumption
  • Vietnam
  • Pre-owned fashion
  • Consumer attitudes and perceptions

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