Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
As Kylie Jenner describes it in her very own words on Instagram, SecretCloset is "a cool app where you can buy/sell luxury brand items directly from your mobile device." More importantly, you can buy something once owned by Vanessa Hudgens, Amber Rose, a handful of Pretty Little Liars, or King Kylie herself.
OMG ❤️❤️❤️ it's @kyliejenner with @secretclosetnet ・・・ "Selling some of my things on this new App @secretclosetnet where you can buy/sell high end items directly from your mobile device. It is really easy to use! get the App and check me out on #secretclosetnet userID: 134284" WINTER SALE: 11/25-01/25 FREE acces to SecretCloset! Buy&Sell commission free. Paid subscriptions extended by 2 months
For an idea that seems very tied to a specific tier of Instagram-famous, B-List Hollywood celebrities, SecretCloset is actually surprisingly international. There are comments on the app begging Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale to ship her cast-offs to Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, and the UK. "We wanted to test the ecosystems of social shopping," says Karl Javellana Nguyen, SecretCloset’s Global PR and Marketing Director. "So we chose Moscow, Bucharest, Berlin, Paris, London, New York, and Shanghai."
Eventually, they realized not all of those cities were as digital as they had hoped, and decided to focus on "certain Hollywood West Coast celebrities" instead. So the app’s founders — about whom their rep will disclose only "that they are of Central/Eastern European descent based in Berlin, Germany" — turned to the Kardashian-Jenners, with whom they allegedly "have a good relationship." From there, they turned to Socialyte, a company that matches influencers with content marketing campaigns.
But that’s not to say that any B-List celeb with 1K Instagram followers and a pair of Alexander Wang track pants can shill for them. "If we choose a celebrity who’s promoting those diet teas, and suddenly they’re promoting our app, it’s not organic," says Nguyen. Of course, the Kardashians do regularly post photos with diet teas. But they also love fashion!
I feel confident in saying that the best item that ever has been or will be for sale on the app is a Fendi fur monster charm currently owned by Kendall Jenner. Marked down from a truly deplorable $850 to a merely sickening $300, it should be noted that this is not the infamous Fendi Keychain once chewed by Kylie’s new puppy. I can only assume the Jenner sisters once went to a fashion party where, instead of a ball pit, there was a playpen made entirely of furry Fendi keychains and they left with some stuck to their clothes. The $300 keychain rests on a what seems to be a satin pillow.
Kendall’s also selling a YSL Nano Sac for a cool $1,000 (marked down from $1,990), a Chanel crossbody bag, and a Acne Studios white leather jacket. The items have all presumably been for sale since Kendall joined the app almost five months ago, since her response rate is a depressing 0%. If she does eventually log on and decide to sell her loot, she’d make $4,000 minus the app’s $29.99 one-year subscription fee (a one-month subscription is only $3.99, but busy Kendall lost her window).
That’s certainly months of rent for a normal, but $4K can’t go too far for one of Forbes’Highest Paid Models. Nguyen won’t disclose exact terms payment for any of SecretCloset’s sponsorship contracts. Let’s assume it’s plenty: The app is funded by its company director, an Amiran Guruli, who until 2014 seems to have worked in the industrial and military fields in Russia. Nguyen allows that some spokespeople get are compensated monetarily while others receive "gifts." For what it’s worth, the app’s domain name is registered to an address in beautiful vacation spot and popular tax haven the British Virgin Islands.
But according to Nguyen, it wasn’t a hard sell to get America’s first family on board. Perhaps due to their relationship with the app’s mysterious founders, he tells me someone on Team Kardashian-Jenner suggested, "‘Why don’t we do promotion for the app?’" Kylie, Kim and Kendall have all posted Instagrams where they can’t keep their eyes off the SecretCloset app. This has Kris Jenner written all over it, considering the Huffington Post reported that Kendall can make anywhere from $125,000 to $300,000 per sponsored Insta.
For fans of actress Bella Thorne — and there are 12 million on Instagram — SecretCloset provides the opportunity to own the Versace Medusa Sneakers she wore to a press day for The Duff. Supermodel Irina Shayk wants to unload her classic Chanel tweed suit jacket, description "very useful for everyday business affairs." Over the past few months, Irina has posted presumably sponsored posts for Wrigleys gum, L’Oreal, and the Solarin phone(?). Her Chanel jacket has been for sale since November 2015, but hopefully it will make it into someone’s closet it time for a business meeting this fall.
Meanwhile, model/actress Emily Ratajkowski is selling a pair of Louboutins that do look at least a little used for $800. "These are Emily Ratajkowski’s Loubs!" is a decent-enough conversation starter. Unfortunately, her response rate is 0%.
Celeb-minded shoppers should probably also download Depop, where Shaq has his own shop called @buyitfromshaq and sells items like "Rhonda shear perfume really sexy" for $15. But Tainá Vilela, Depop’s Head of Partnerships, assures me that regular people are just as likely to become "Depop famous" as long as they put in the time to get involved with the app’s lively community.
SecretCloset, on the other hand, isn’t paying the celebs to be perfect users. "It’s a call to action" says Nguyen. "What we’re looking at is the exponential growth in the number of downloads, the client retention, and the buzz." And what’s buzzier than Snooki’s Burberry scarf, reduced by 18%?