'People have this misconception about eBay, thinking it is all about vintage clothing -- it is not. Half our sales are from sell-through on new items. People are shopping on eBay for new clothing as they would in a store," Corin Brett, of eBay Ireland, told me.
We met at d-Light studios, where the results of a new project -- conceived by eBay, Emily Cramp and James O'Neill of Thinkhouse PR and the Sunday Independent -- were being realised. Corin explained that eBay wanted to support young Irish creatives, and so a competition was created for wannabe fashion photographers and stylists to pitch a mini-fashion shoot, sourcing all the gear from eBay, with the end results appearing in LIFE today.
The talents were sourced from our colleges and through Facebook, where eBay have a page called "Style Hunter", a highly interactive, fashion-spy section with more than 2,000 members and tons of cutting-edge fashion info.
One of the biggest problems for young creatives is professional support and mentorship once they leave education. So, for this project fashion photographer Andreas Pettersson acted as mentor to the finalist photographers and stylists. I met with the teams on the day of the shoot to give them feedback on their work and some insights into what a fashion editor looks for. The teams came from courses such as media in Griffith College and print textiles in NCAD. One talent was entering his Leaving Cert year, while another was made redundant from her job, and is now pursuing her dream.
A fascinating aspect of the project was the cohesiveness of all the looks -- nude, short skirts, leggings and jodhpurs, Eighties, lots of bling and strong shoulders -- despite the fact that all the stylists worked independently of each other. All of the stylists were hugely impressed with the sellers on eBay, and with the speed of delivery.
I know eBay and its customers have stringent standards, but I asked Corin about the problem of designer knock-offs and the consumer who gets stung. She told me eBay have an entire team dedicated to tracking such items, investigating the authenticity of sellers and their merchandise, and that PayPal gives the protection of a refund if the consumer is ripped off.
Although eBay is great for new collections of labels such as Karen Millen, it is the potential discovery of indie pieces that still turns me on the most. Be it Rodarte for Target or a Lainey Keogh, eBay is like a 24-hour heavenly fashion bazaar.