Kate Regan is repurposing vintage clothing into fashionable streetwear

As the print editor of Syracuse University’s premiere fashion publication, Zipped Magazine, Kate Regan not only publishes fashion content but also lends a voice to aspiring stylists, costume designers and those with an interest in the industry. Having assisted celebrity stylist Erin Walsh in her New York City showroom, Regan has even had the experience of working with household names like Sarah Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway. With her arsenal of professional experience, Regan is a formidable force awaiting her start as a prospective innovation pioneer in the fashion world.

She’s putting that savvy to work by tapping into a powerful Gen Z platform. It’s no question that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has drastically limited employment opportunities in America, especially for recent college graduates. Businesses are laying off workers left and right, the unemployment rate is nearly 11 percent and the professional plans that many young professionals once had have been halted indefinitely. During this time of economic strife, Gen Z is turning to platforms to build small businesses of their own.

With a network of nearly 20 million users, London startup Depop, founded by Simon Beckerman in 2011, is redefining the ways in which one can make a living. With a download of the platform’s app, users instantly become clothing vendors, uploading images of their own vintage clothing for other users to purchase. Depop vendors even have the option of leaving their sold items on their profiles, creating a unique fashion collection that, in time, has the potential to amass hundreds of followers.

”While I never really cared about my number of followers, it definitely takes a while to build them,” says Regan, a Syracuse University Depop ambassador and Newhouse magazine journalism major.  She has been uploading her clothing on the platform for more than five years and has achieved success through that partnership.

Regan says that she struggled finding employment long before the coronavirus outbreak.  She made her Depop profile at age 16 when she had her first sales on the app. On Depop, Regan takes on the role of momjeans25, her profile name which has amassed more than 1,500 followers.

“One feature they have which is super cool is you can see how many items you have sold at the top of your profile.  For Regan, that number is 575 and she has made thousands of dollars since starting.

”I definitely think it has allowed me to feel more independent. When I sell something by myself, I feel so accomplished and satisfied,” says Regan.  She also feels part of the platform’s innovative community of young entrepreneurs.

Establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between itself and its users, Depop takes a 10 percent cut of all digital sales while giving other creatives the opportunity to make money of their own. Moreover, creatives can even avoid paying Depop’s fee by meeting with buyers in person. Ultimately, the company values its active buyers and sellers, as they maintain constant dialogue with the platform’s community members, composed of 15 million+ stylists, designers, collectors, vintage sellers, sneakerheads and more.

Besides having this remarkable network of digitally native creatives that value ambition and authenticity, Depop prides itself on being a sustainable force in the current fashion industry. 

“I believe they generally want to help the horrible construct that is fast fashion” says Regan in regard to the company’s main objective of repurposing old, vintage clothing into fashionable streetwear. While fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and H&M continue to unsustainably produce their products, and in turn, devastate the environment, Depop commits itself to a generation that adores sustainably developing novelty, second-hand items into eye-catching gems.

“Representing them as a brand has been the perfect partnership as their business model aligns with my interests,” says Regan, a sustainably minded individual with an impressive resume of work to share besides her momjeans25 Depop profile.

This year, pandemic or not, she is still innovating, while rummaging through her closet for hidden gems to sell to the Depop community.

Story by Christopher Appello ’21, LaunchPad Global Fellow; photo supplied