By Lisa Jucca
VALVIGNA, Italy (Reuters) - Italian fashion group Prada sees opportunity in the booming second-hand fashion sector which it can develop both in-house and through partnerships, marketing chief and heir designate Lorenzo Bertelli told Reuters. The market for pre-owned chic bags and clothes has surged over the last three years, driven by younger, more environmentally conscious shoppers looking for affordable high-end goods. It is expected to reach 33 billion euros ($37.2 billion) in size this year after growing by 65% between 2017 and 2021, according to consultancy Bain. This compares with 12% growth for brand new luxury goods. Some rival luxury companies are already exploring the sector. Earlier this year, French conglomerate Kering took a 5% stake in Vestiaire Collective, a leading platform for second-hand clothes and handbags. Kering's star brand Gucci also formed a partnership nL2N2KZ23T with U.S.-based resale platform The RealReal last year. "Second hand is a strategy we have been investigating for more than a year," Lorenzo Bertelli, the eldest son of co-Chief Executives Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada and the future brand leader, said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference aired on Wednesday.
"I cannot disclose too much but for sure second hand is there. We will take it as an opportunity.
"It can be a partnership with a player or it can be something more in-house, or both of them, a sort of hybrid solution like for e-commerce," he said. The heir to Prada's empire, who told Reuters he wants to keep the family-controlled group independent nL8N2SF4OL when he takes the reins in a few years, doesn't seem fazed by the future challenges of the ever-changing luxury sector. For that, he thanks his experience as a rally driver.
"Rallying and sport in general taught me a lot. (It) teaches you to never give up and also a lot of humility, in the sense that you have to learn," he said. "Sometimes sport is cruel, when you want to measure yourself."
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(This story refiles to fix typo in para 6 in Bertelli name)
(Writing by Claudia Cristoferi, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)