Costco Is Having a Fast Fashion Moment

Image: Getty

Costco—the land of free samples, beige patio furniture, and jars of kimchi as big as your head—has now also become a fast fashion destination. As malls die and once beloved chains start to close, the fashion business at Costco has gone up about 9 percent every year for the last four years, according to a new report from Fast Company.

There could be a number of reasons for this: Brands like Marmot, Tory Burch, Nike, and Birkenstock push off unsold merchandise to the wholesale retailer, where it is then sold at severely discounted rates. There is also Costco’s in-house fashion line, Kirkland, which I can attest makes cute socks and pajamas; like any good-natured millennial, I used to stick up my nose at the line, but now every time I go home and accompany my mom on a Costco run, I am tempted to pick up a new 12-pack of underwear.

Advertisement

If you’re already shopping at Costco, why wouldn’t you peruse the clothing section? There’s a lot of brand loyalty there, and the in-store shopping experience is pretty seamless. The appeal of Costco is obvious: We love Amazon because it’s an online everything store; Costco is a real-life everything store with free bulgogi beef samples and a food court with excellent hot dogs, literally the two things I wish Amazon had.

But there’s an obvious downside. “Costco is effectively supporting the fast-fashion business model”—which is harmful to workers and the environment for a number of reasons—“by creating a secondary market where it can sell off unwanted goods at low prices,” Fast Company writes. Still I dream of a Costco membership, where I can buy champagne in bulk and consider buying new running shoes for a fraction of the price I’d normally pay. If that market could reorient itself so my love of Costco doesn’t keep destroying the planet, that’d be great.

Share This Story

About the author