It’s been over 8 years since I’ve bought any new clothes, and yet, my wardrobe is everything I’ve ever wanted it to be. With such an abundance of clothing in our world, we are living in the golden age of secondhand fashion. Although there are a million reasons to shop secondhand, here are 10 of my favorite:
1. You’re generating less pollution.
The fashion industry is the most pollutive industry on the planet, only second to oil (and we all know how bad the oil industry is). Throwaway culture and fast fashion has made synthetic and non degradable materials like nylon and polyester very popular, leading to the release of over 50 million tonnes of plastic micro-fabrics into the ocean each year. That’s equivalent to throwing about 50 billion plastic bottles in the ocean for the turtles to choke on!
Buying second hand reduces the carbon, waste and water footprint of a garment by 82%, and therefore, is one of the most fun and impactful ways to contribute to sustainability. If you’re interested in better understanding how your shopping habits affect our environment, you can calculate your fashion footprint here!
2. The “hunt” is SO satisfying.
You never know what amazing and unique pieces you may find when you go thrifting. Though initially the sheer number of clothes in a second hand store may be overwhelming to your senses, with just a little practice you can train your eye to spot the pieces that will make you jump for joy!
And when you find these stunning garments, you’ll get this overwhelming sense of satisfaction that courses through your veins, because across time, continents and entire communities, fate has brought this incredible piece of clothing to you!
3. You can afford brands that are normally out of your price range.
If you weren’t already aware, brands sell clothes for much much higher prices than what they are worth. This is especially true for exclusive high end brands like Gucci and Prada which sell items with almost a 1200% markup. Yes, it's true that they do use better quality materials and labour than other brands, but it's still not enough to warrant such a ridiculously high price.
Second hand stores very often strip these products of their brand mark-ups and sell them for what they are actually worth (or less)!
4. You’re decreasing the demand for fast fashion.
Fast fashion is not cheap, someone somewhere is paying for it; most likely, it’s a woman or child in a Bangladeshi factory or Vietnamese textile mill that pays for it with their sweat, efforts, and sometimes even their lives. According to a study by Huffington post, less that 2% of these women who produce clothes sold in western countries are paid living wages enough to even afford the $2 t-shirts they make.
By shopping secondhand, you’re helping reduce the demand for fast fashion companies who disregard the safety and wellbeing of their employees. You can click here to learn more about these shameful practices and why a revolution of the fashion industry is desperately needed.
5. New trends are just old trends making a comeback.
You don't need to entirely abandon trendy and current fashion just because you’re buying second hand. It pays to remember that the large majority of new trends are just recycled and upgraded versions of trends that were popular in previous decades. Bell bottoms, duster coats, head scarves, mom jeans, corsets- these are just a few trends that were started by your mom or grandma's generation and have recently made a huge comeback!
Keeping an eye out for modern trends in second hand stores can lead you to some awesome vintage pieces that will make you stand out even while being current.
6. You can support good causes and your local economy.
Many secondhand stores are either run by hard-working entrepreneurs, moms and pops, local charity organizations, or national charity organizations. Often when shopping secondhand you are also contributing to a worthy cause, fuelling somebody’s passion, or directly supporting the family who owns the store.
Goodwill, a secondhand franchise with over 3,300 stores, has special programs for hiring and training those with barriers to employment. The ESRA shops in Israel fund Education and Welfare Projects in their communities through the proceeds of the shops, and one of my favorite second-hand stores in Tel Aviv, Ani Shlishi, empowers at-risk youth by employing and training them at the store.
7. You can experiment with and develop your style.
Yves Saint Laurent once said, “Fashion fades, style is eternal”. A truly fashionable woman has a strong individual style that is intensely personal and constantly developing. Your style is a major form of your self expression.
A thrift store, and its infinite variety of clothes from different decades and brands, enables you to look beyond whatever style large corporations are promoting as “trendy” for the next few weeks, and explore whatyou like, rather than what you are advertised to like.
8. You can find higher quality clothing.
Up until a few decades ago, clothing was created to be long-lasting and robust. This is very different from the fast fashion produced today, which is designed to be worn out and discarded after just a few wears. As the pace of fashion increases and trends come and go within a matter of weeks, clothing manufacturers pay less and less attention to the quality of their products.
What you can find in thrift stores, despite being older, is often much better quality and will last you longer.
9. Every item has a story.
Secondhand simply means pre-loved. Every item that you buy secondhand comes with its own beautiful story and history. You may find a hand made sweater someone’s grandmother knitted their love into, or a stunning pendant someone bought for their lover many years ago.
Each item has had a life before you and holds within it an endless mystery of memories. Buying these treasured pieces and breathing new life into them, connects you to a beautiful web of people, communities, and relationships that constitute the very essence of being human.
10. We already have more than enough clothes.
Everyone is always so surprised at the number of clothes I resell with the tag still on it. Sadly, less than 5% of unwanted clothes globally enter the second hand market, while the rest is sent to landfills. There is absolutely no need to buy new clothes when there are so many already produced and are in danger of being forgotten and discarded.
At Dressed by Danielle, you can even trade in clothes that you no longer want in exchange for credit to shop! That jacket you loved at the store but realistically will never wear could be swapped with a dress that becomes your new go-to!
So what are you waiting for?
We, as consumers, have the power and responsibility to preserve the future of our planet and communities. Shopping secondhand is by far one of the easiest and most fun ways to protect the environment, support your local economy, and lookabsolutely gorgeous while doing it!