When we talk about the benefits of shopping secondhand or recycled clothing, we still get the negative vibes about how secondhand clothing is “stinky”, “dirty”, “gross”. Yet these same negative Nellies (not personal to anyone named Nelly) donate their own clothes to churches, charities and thrift stores. So the question is, why is YOUR secondhand clothing good enough for others to wear but you wouldn’t consider wearing another’s? This sounds like a challenge in the making!
Yes, some secondhand clothing is not “wearable”. Some tend to have a lot of stains, holes or stenches that just won’t come out. But those pieces are usually an exception to the rule and very little of what is available for resale. Most people are surprised to learn that a lot of secondhand clothing has been worn once or twice, is in excellent condition and in some cases, still has store tags. How many times have you bought something just to hang it in your closet for two years and then donate it with the tags on? Yes, many people do this! In addition, what do you think department stores do with all that clothing they cannot sell each season? They sell it off to companies or individuals who will buy it in bulk for cheap and then they find buyers to resell it. If wholesalers and resellers did not get involved in the liquidation process, all of these pieces would end up in a landfill somewhere. There is a pressure for stores to keep new, trendy and seasonal styles in stock so the constant churn of buying new then liquidating three months later is real and in our opinion, wasteful and terrible for the environment.
Here are some not-so-fun facts about the clothing industry:
- 85% of the clothing manufactured per year ends up in a landfill or is burned
- Only 15% of the clothing produced each year is donated or recycled
- The U.S. alone sends about 21 billion pounds of textile waste to landfills every year
So how do we lessen the demand for new clothing that just churns and burns through the retail industry? Here are some options…
- Consider purchasing more sustainable clothing brands that are less harmful to the environment to produce or are made from recycled plastic or other materials. Yes, there are clothing and shoe companies that use recycled plastic to make fashion.
- Wear your pieces for a longer period of time. There is really no race to see how fast we can keep up with the latest trends. Fast fashion companies (many big box and mall brands that cater to a younger customer) are putting THE most strain on the environment. You can actually wear a pair of jeans for more than six months and still look great!
- And our favorite option is SHOP SECONDHAND! There are so many benefits of shopping secondhand: it’s better for the environment, it keeps clothing out of landfills, it is much easier on your budget and you can find some great vintage or one of a kind pieces. Shall we go on?
So our challenge to you if you currently do not shop secondhand is to start small but just start. Maybe just try a pair of jeans or a jacket and if you feel better buying it new with tags, go for it! Of course we will suggest browsing our website first to see if there is anything you like but if we don’t have what you are looking for (keep checking back though because we add new pieces daily) try sites like Poshmark or Mercari, venture into a thrift store, or if you are looking for luxury, The Real Real or Tradesy are great sites to try. You will be AMAZED at the quality you will find for 60%-90% off retail and guess what, no one will know unless you tell them!
We hope you accept this challenge and we are confident you will change how and where you shop. You can thank us later!