If the word "grail" isn't in your fashion-related lexicon, let us break it down for you: It's a term coined by internet-savvy menswear enthusiasts to describe a rare piece of clothing — whether it's an archival Raf Simons parka or a T-shirt from a one-off Supreme collaboration — that you simply cannot live without owning. (My personal grail is the Balenciaga Fall 2004 aviator shearling designed by Nicolas Ghesquière that, to this day, I have been unable to find on any resale site in my size. Such is life.)
Founded in 2014, the peer-to-peer start-up caters to like-minded menswear fans who search the web high and low for previously owned, hard-to-find items at affordable prices. Thanks to VIP shoppers like Luka Sabbat, A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, a well-curated Instagram feed highlighting special pieces and a vertical for editorial content called "Dry Clean Only" that encourages members to share how they style their looks, Grailed has attracted a user base of over 500,000 shoppers and sellers. Much like similar sites in the crowded online resale space (The Real Real, Vestiare Collective, etc.), there is an involved authentication process, but since members buy and sell from each other, there's a particular shared interest in niche brands that might not be as popular elsewhere. (Think: Raf Simons, Rick Owens and Comme des Garçons in the luxury sector and Palace, Yeezy, Gosha Rubchinskiy and Stone Island on the sportier side of the spectrum.)
Though the selection at Grailed is currently focused on menswear, the site has noticed that women frequently use the site to buy things like sneakers, streetwear and outerwear usually marketed to men; recently, VIP client Kendall Jenner was spotted wearing a Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby bomber from the Fall 2014 collection. In order to further build out its community and provide women with a similar enthusiast-focused marketplace, Grailed announced on Monday that it will be launching a sister site for women in early summer 2017. Kristen Dempsey, the women's brand director who joined the team six months ago after a stint at Dover Street Market, hopes to see the user base list labels like Céline, Alaïa, Comme des Garçons, Visvim, Undercover, Simone Rocha and Saint Laurent, as well as more mainstream, commercial brands like Madewell, Birkenstock, Reformation and Vans.
Grailed's women's marketplace will be an entirely separate site, with its own social media properties, editorial content and a robust community for women's fashion. It'll have its own personality, but the same "for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts" mantra that the men's division has. If you haven't signed up for Grailed, why not browse the current selection on offer to get a feel for the site's vibe — you may just come across a Supreme tee you fall in love with to hold you over until the women's selection drops.
You can watch team Grailed discuss its backstory and ambitious plans for the future in the new video below.