By Alexa Tietjen
with contributions from Kaley Roshitsh
 on June 18, 2020
Black Lives Matter protest in New York City.

HauteTrader founder Hope-Noelle Davenport is asking resale businesses to ban luxury goods that may have been taken during the largely peaceful George Floyd protests nationwide.

Davenport, who launched Black-owned luxury trading startup HauteTrader in January, is calling on popular e-commerce web sites such as Poshmark, Tradesy, The Real Real, Fashionphile, ThredUp and eBay to participate in the #BloodFashionChallenge. The challenge asks that resale companies, which often take a commission from or charge a fee for each item listed, prevent the sale of “looted” goods, so as not to profit from those items or detract from the core message of the protests.

“I don’t like the idea of people looting and I don’t like the idea of them having such an easy harbor for doing it,” Davenport said. “These businesses put up a little paragraph [on] Black Lives Matter, but really, what are you doing? If you’re profiting from people who are so blatantly ruining the message, do you really care?”

Already, the #BloodFashionChallenge has prompted a response from Fashionphile. “We have always been at the forefront of keeping stolen merchandise off of our web site,” the company wrote in response to HauteTrader on Instagram.

A Poshmark spokesperson said the company is “actively monitoring activity” on its web site to “ensure that stolen goods are not being sold.”

“We take this issue extremely seriously and we will work with law enforcement to investigate any claims of stolen goods,” the spokesperson said.

Manish Chandra, Poshmark’s founder and chief executive officer, wrote in a company blog post that Poshmark would donate $100,000 across organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Urban League and Black Girls Code.

A representative for eBay wrote via e-mail that the online marketplace “is fully committed to providing a safe and secure online shopping experience to millions of people globally” and has “zero tolerance for criminal activity on our platform.” The rep added that eBay has teams dedicated to detecting and removing stolen goods from its platform, and that the company works directly with retailers and law enforcement to investigate stolen goods claims.

Dominic Rose, chief operating officer of Depop, offered the following statement via e-mail, after canceling a phone call with WWD: “We’re focused on supporting our community during this incredibly difficult time and continuing to exist as a safe space for young entrepreneurs of all backgrounds on our platform. We believe that this is a time for talking about action, not about looting.”

When reached, The RealReal pointed to a March press release announcing its engagement with LeadsOnline, reportedly the nation’s largest online investigation service. Since March, officers have had visibility into The RealReal’s current inventory.

ThredUp and Rebag declined to comment. Tradesy and Facebook Marketplace did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Hope-Noelle Davenport, founder of HauteTrader.  Courtesy Image

Davenport, a former designer and stylist, said the #BloodFashionChallenge requires resale platforms to take a stand. But, as companies’ mixed responses — or lack thereof — to WWD might suggest, not all are comfortable doing so.

“Put your money where your mouth is,” Davenport said. “If you really stand for this outside of a paragraph [on] Black Lives Matter, then you are totally fine with saying, ‘We’re taking a stand against profiting from these people who have looted these businesses’ — businesses, by the way, which have been closed for the last three months.

“In some cases, things will be easy to recognize and in some cases, there may be a little bit of coding involved,” Davenport continued. “But if you care, then it’s worth it. Otherwise, is it just that you’re here to profit off of this?”

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