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The myth of the high-growth fashion startup

For the past decade, fashion startups with disruptive business models—from direct-to-consumer brands to clothing-rental platforms—have taken the industry by storm. Now, many of these once-scrappy startups are going public.

This year alone, ThredUp, Poshmark, and Warby Parker have gone public; Rent the Runway and Allbirds have filed for IPOs and are expected to go public soon. A look at these companies’ financials reveals that none of them managed to create a profitable business while also scaling fast enough to meet investors’ expectations. And some of these companies’s stock—including ThredUp and Poshmark—have stayed flat or tanked since their IPO. All of this prompts the question of whether the age of the fast-growing, VC-funded fashion startup might be coming to an end.

Why now?

While it might seem surprising that all of these companies are going public so close to one another, there are some bigger trends that help explain it. For starters, many of them launched…

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