Miu Miu! Gaultier! Dior! ...and Marks & Spencer
@ebay_pieces does what it says on the tin. It’s not necessarily artful, nor is it a tryst through a very specific image-genre or thought process. It’s literally screenshots of brilliant eBay finds. “I started it because I felt like I hadn't come across a similar account on Instagram,” its anonymous founder explains, “well maybe there are, because honestly before this account I hardly used Instagram, so I think there are ones that showcase weird eBay finds, but not ones concentrated on fashion where you can actually purchase the items.”
It’s like Insta-shopping but with no clickthrough (you have to manually search for the pieces featured), and features a curation of everything from Gaultier to Per Una (the M&S premium range) to an unheard of Saint Martins graduate selling their wares. “I have go-to brands like Karen Millen, Miss Sixty etc. So I do check what’s on there a lot, and then there are key words like 'used' instead of ‘vintage’… 'Vintage' tends to lead to weird fake 50's shit. ’Unusual' is also a word I use, you get a lot of Margiela-y looking pieces from that word. Personally I like things that look interesting like they could be Comme des Garçons, but they turn out to be River Island.”
The London-based fashion set designer, who wishes to stay unnamed, has hacked how to do eBay proper – offering you super niche Miu Miu for £60, or Comme jeans for £1.20. eBay thrifting is a dying art in the age of Supreme and sneaker-heads, one which @eBay_pieces aims to keep alive.
But why? According to the account’s founder it’s not just about the fashion. “I barely ever shop. I’m trying to do the London-creative freelance thing on my own so sometimes I find myself living la vida broke-ah, but when I do have paper to burn I find it difficult to shop for new stuff,” they continue. “Spending like £200 or even £100 on shoes is plain dumb to me now, but I guess it’s all about your privilege. When I do there are a few second hand shops I go to, but I tend to go online.”
The account is not just about grabbing a bargain, though. It also promotes sustainability, and actually has a political aspect to it. “Fashion is an elitist industry and many high fashion brands advertise and market their products to young people, but their prices are only really feasible for those with disposable incomes in their 40s and 50s. @ebay_pieces gives the young creatives that follow it the chance to own, or virtually window shop, a curated selection of unique clothing and also emulate the style they like sustainably and affordably. Or at least have a laugh at questionable fashion.”
It’s not so questionable though – it’s the first time Karen Millen has ever looked cool, because across the feed it’s paired with genius 90s and 00s finds that most of us wouldn’t have a clue how to locate: Robert Clergerie clacky mules, Phoebe Philo for Chloé bags, and even the odd bit of Kookai (that’s right – Kookai!). And, at the crux of it, is sustainability and affordability: two things shopping for new can rarely offer, but shopping on eBay can.
It’s also an unusual use of Instagram, one which isn’t about personality per se. “The best part of Instagram is that it’s free and accessible – to anyone that has a smartphone or iPhone that is. It’s a great medium to get your 'creative identity' out online because it's so visual and nowadays branding is so tied in with personality. But I'm less about that: personality is revealed through what I select. Much of it is not actually my taste, but I still have an appreciation for it. I like being on the outside of it all, and I don't feel the need to express myself through fashion a lot of the time. But I love to be inspired and humoured.”
Follow fast – this gem only has 920 followers at time of writing, so if you’re into an iconic bargain minus the bidding war, now’s your chance.