Style Profile: Aviva Stella Brackenridge and Meg Charnaud

Aviva Stella Brackenridge and Meg Charnaud


As we prepare for our annual Archival Designer Fashion Market, The Dilettante Circle, we met with Stella Brackenridge and Meg Charnaud from Second Life Markets at Stella's family home. There, we styled them in clothing from previous Dilettante Circle events and discussed the importance and growing demand for sustainable and circular fashion.


Stella Brackenridge and Meg Charnaud
Stella wears a Vivienne Westwood corset, Junya Watanabe skirt and Maison Margiela Tabi boots.
Meg wears a Maison Margiela top and gold Tabi ballet shoes and Uma Wang jeans.

What motivated you to start Second Life Markets and to create a platform for individuals to sell their preloved clothes?

Stella: Meg and I struggled to find places where we could sell our quality preloved pieces. We tried selling at a number of local community markets around Perth and found they didn't attract the right customers for our clothes, which were consistently being undervalued. After another mediocre market day we decided "why don't we have our own garage sale." We asked 15 of our fashion friends to join us, started a (very casual) instagram account and had a line around the block at our very first event. Not only were we selling clothes, we were so stimulated by the thrill of finding something unique unlike what we were seeing in stores. As uni students, finding an affordable way to shop some of the best secondhand felt like a golden ticket. There was nothing else like us, nothing similar was on offer. Admittedly, at the time we didn't realise what we had started, we just knew we had to keep doing it!


What aspects of circular fashion appeal to you the most, and why do you believe it's so important for people to buy second-hand?

Meg: Circular fashion is exciting because you never know what you are going to find or what you are going to be drawn to, there is so much more variety which is super inspiring. You're also not influenced by pushy trends and advertising, just your own instinct. It's the best opportunity to discover your style and be experimental. It is also a really affordable way to consume quality fashion and enter the designer scene. As well, the older clothing is usually constructed to a higher standard. Now the majority of the industry churns over 4 collections a year with extortionate minimum orders and cheap materials - the cycle of fashion has become more and more commercial. Clothes are pushed to be made so quickly and at the cheapest possible cost in countries with even cheaper labour therefore it now lacks the craftsmanship that you used to pay for. There is currently enough clothing on the planet to last the next 6 generations. Through Second Life we are trying to reinvigorate what already exists.


Stella Brackenridge and Meg Charnaud
Meg wears a Lumen Et Umbra dress with Ann Demeulemeester skirt and shoes.
Stella wears a vintage Issey Miyake suit and Maison Margiela gold ballet shoes.

Second Life Markets and the Dilettante Circle both promote sustainable fashion practices. Do you see more people embracing these principles in the future, and how do you think this will impact the fashion industry?

Stella: The industry has completely shifted since we started Second Life in 2019 - for the better! As time goes on, we are seeing more businesses embracing the urgent need to recycle and entering the resale industry. Consumers purchasing behaviour has also swung in the direction of secondhand fashion first, as they choose to reject fast fashion and over consumption. You can undeniably see our generation voting with their dollar. It is a really exciting time to be a part of this movement.

That being said, the action needed to reverse the damage we have already done is extraordinary. We need to keep educating people on why they need to consume thoughtfully, locally and sustainably; "Buy less, choose well, make it last" - Westwood.


What were some of your favourite items discovered at our previous Dilettante Circle market day? Are there any designers or specific pieces you may have missed out on last time that you're hoping to find at our next event in July?

Stella: Not last year the year before, I scored this incredible black vintage Westwood blazer. I will keep it for the rest of my life. I love her so much.

Meg: I got a green Rick Owens wrap top one year that I have probably worn more than any other top in my wardrobe. She's on a weekly rotation.



Stella Brackenridge and Meg Charnaud
Stella wears Rick Owens wrap top with Uma Wang jeans and Prada heels.
Meg wears a Vivienne Westwood knit dress with Maison Margiela Tabi boots.

We understand that Second Life Markets operates in various cities across Australia and has recently expanded to London. Which cities have been the most successful, and what do you think are the key factors behind their success?

Meg: Australia is consistently growing success wise. We believe in slow and steady natural growth to develop a truly authentic community. But the way our business is structured with a different local event organiser in each city, each city feels really unique. You can definitely feel the different personality between each event in all the cities.

Stella: The quality of our sellers in each city can dictate the success of these events. Making sure we carefully curate our events and ensure we host only high quality sellers at a range of different price points is really important to us. We want our attendees to feel like they can shop the best secondhand curation in one spot. Not only that, the sense of community at our events is something that I am most proud of. Meg and I have really strived to create a fun space where people can make new friends, build on relationships and have casual conversations that can blossom into thoughtful action.


Can you share any future plans or visions for Second Life Markets? Are there any new initiatives or expansions that you're particularly excited about?

Stella: Almost a year ago now we launched our "Second Life Archive" events in London, which we brought over to Sydney this year. The concept is more selective, only showcasing 20 expert sellers of specifically archival designer fashion at each event. We are going to be expanding this branch of events across other cities in Australia due to popular demand.

Meg: We are excited to package up and share the knowledge that we have learnt over the last 5 years to encourage and guide more individuals to get involved in the resale industry. The more sustainable businesses, the better! 


Our next Dilettante Circle will be held on the 28th and 29th of July 2024.

Photography by Tülay Dinçel. Assisted by James Daly.

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