Biblotheca’s theme for this month is “March Madness”, so everyone who wants to participate is hosting tournaments pitting their favorite brands, prints, and styles against each other. Some people are opening up the tournaments to public voting (Nycticeivs’ “Nun-derdome” is voting now through the end of the month). However, this blog is not a democracy, so you’ll just have to deal with my objective opinions.
I really racked my brain for a tournament that I would be excited to talk about. I’m not really one for prints. Talking about ranking indie brands seemed hard because I love too many of them. But then I realized the only thing I love more than indie brands is a good deal. It only makes sense that I would talk about the best secondhand market.
Secondhand markets – the teams
I came up with 8 secondhand marketplaces (I’m using that term pretty loosely here). The teams are, in no particular order:
Social Media (EGL Livejournal sales, Facebook sales, Instagram story sales, etc)
I put these teams into a bracket generator and away we went.
Round 1 – Elite 8
Lacemarket vs. Social Media – I know that many people have been burned by Lacemarket and chose to sell directly to friends or followers. However, I’ve only had good experiences on Lacemarket. I like that Lacemarket can offer a look at the historical prices of items. It also offers an easy way to keep an eye out for pieces you want without having to obsessively check social media. Lacemarket is the clear winner for me.
Ebay/Depop/Vinted vs. Xianyu – The explosion of secondhand western sites has been crazy in the last few years. However, I have basically never found a good deal for lolita fashion on these sites. I find that prices tend to be inflated on these sites. I’ve never used Xianyu before, but it seems like an intriguing market, especially if you’re after Taobao brands that didn’t have a huge release. Even though I haven’t used it, Xianyu is the winner here.
Closetchild vs. Fril/Ratuken/Mercari – Honestly my heart sank when I saw this match-up. Both Closetchild and Japanese “fleamarket” websites are where a lot of wardrobe has come from. Closetchild’s low prices and vast inventory make them a great place to find good deals. Plus they’ll ship directly to you without a shopping service. On the otherhand, I find their navigation clunky and it’s hard to browse if you’re not looking for something in particular. Fril/Ratuken/Mercari have an even bigger selection, but their sites can be filled with unrelated sales posts using lolita hashtages. As tough as it is, I think that Closetchild is the winner.
Local Community vs. Wunderwelt – Once again, while I know some people have a great experience buying and selling in their local community, the Los Angeles community is pretty fragmented. We haven’t had anything resembling a swapmeet in years (obviously some of that is COVID). That being said, since I wrote for Wunderwelt and racked up points that I can redeem for coupons, I’ve had a lot of good experiences with them. My winner is Wunderwelt.
Round 2 – Final Four
Lacemarket vs. Xianyu – Unfortunately, Lacemarket has a clear advantage because it’s the site I’ve actually used before. I’m sorry Xianyu, I’m sure you’re nice! You’re just new and frightening. Therefore, the winner is Lacemarket.
Closetchild vs. Wunderwelt – Two of the biggest secondhand retailers in the lolita game going head to head should be a little more difficult, right? I’ve used both of them multiple times before. Neither of them require shopping services. Closetchild has extremely cheap prices, but basically no social media presence. Wunderwelt has higher prices, a robust social media presence, and recently redid their whole website to run more smoothly. Wunderwelt also sells new clothing items, and is the official retailer for Moi-Meme-Moitie (although that’s outside the scope of this competition). However, Wunderwelt’s consistently higher prices and historical wonky website mean that the winner has to be Closetchild.
Round 3 – Championship
Lacemarket vs. Closetchild – Wow, truly didn’t imagine this line up. Navigating Lacemarket is easy in English. I can sort by location so I can find items that will ship inexpensively. However, Lacemarket sellers tend to price their items higher and don’t always include good measurements or pictures. Closetchild has a wide selection, updates constantly, is so cheap…but shipping from Japan kills me. I’ve made up my mind. The winner is